In Wales, UK, community pharmacists have been conducting trials to determine whether a “test and treat” scheme at community pharmacies may alleviate stress on general practitioners and increase appropriate antibiotic prescriptions.
The trial was announced in June 2018 and officially launched at two select pharmacies in areas covered by the Cwm Taf and Betsi Cadwaladr health boards. If deemed successful, the program could see a national rollout in Wales.
The test consists of an on-the-spot throat swab when patients report symptoms of a sore throat. Pharmacists are then able to run diagnostic tests to determine whether the cause is viral or bacterial, and subsequently prescribe the appropriate antibiotics if warranted.
So far, the Betsi Cadwaladr area has held 390 sore throat consultations; 86% of those cases did not need antibiotics, while 55 people were prescribed antibiotics.
In Cwm Taf, more than 400 people used the service, and at least 75% did not require antibiotic treatment.
According to the Cmw Taf health board, 90% of participants said that they would have scheduled an appointment with a general practitioner if the service was not active.