New service to treat urine infections now offered in pharmacies
A number of pharmacies across the Black Country now offer patients easy access to advice and treatments for urinary tract infections (UTIs).
A three-month pilot, aimed at women aged 16-64, has been launched to enable local community pharmacists to treat patients with UTIs without the need for a GP appointment or prescription.
UTIs are one of the most common bacterial infections seen in female patients, with over 40 percent of women likely to suffer from one in their lifetime. Symptoms include:
- Burning or stinging sensation when passing urine
- Needing to pass urine frequently or urgently
- Cloudy urine
- Passing excessive or large quantities of urine.
Over the last six months, more than 8,500 women in the Black Country aged between 16-64 have presented at their GP practice with a UTI.
Sarb Basi, Director of Primary Care for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “UTIs are one of the most common bacterial infections that GPs see in female patients. They can develop quickly, be extremely painful and, understandably, patients want fast access to rapid relief of symptoms. As a result, it means UTIs take up a large proportion of resource within the healthcare system.
“Previously, pharmacists have only been able to provide over-the-counter treatments that offer relief from the symptoms of a UTI. However, this scheme will now allow pharmacists to provide the appropriate treatment to address and treat the underlying bacterial infection causing the infection.
“Community pharmacists are highly trained medical professionals who play a fantastic role in ensuring that thousands of people have their minor ailment needs addressing quickly. They are a prime example of getting the right care, in the right place, at the right time, and the introduction of this pilot demonstrates the enhanced role that pharmacists can play in supporting services provided by the NHS and GP practices.
“Not all patients with a UTI will need antibiotics, but if they do, they can now be provided quickly and conveniently without the need for a GP appointment or prescription. So, I would encourage anyone who thinks they may have a UTI to take advantage of this new service and make their local pharmacy their first port of call.”
There are more than 170 pharmacies across the Black Country signed up to offer support and treatment for UTIs. Click here for more information and to find your nearest participating pharmacy.
Community pharmacies in the North East and North Cumbria were the first to launch the #ByeByeUTI initiative back in July 2022. Since then, more than a thousand women have benefited from the scheme. More information can be found on the NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board website here.