In 2016 the HSE ran a three-month feasibility study, across four centres, on a pharmacy-delivered minor ailment service in an Irish healthcare context.
While the study successfully tested operational and administrative procedures, the patient take-up was small (121 consultations) and no meaningful clinical or outcome data emerged. If this is to be progressed, more extensive trialling, with defined outcome measurement, would be required in order to assess whether a publicly funded minor ailments service represents an effective health intervention for medical card patients.
The report has been submitted to my department and is being examined by my officials.
Any expansion of services should address unmet public health needs, improve access to existing public health services delivered elsewhere or provide better value for money or patient outcomes if delivered through pharmacy. Expansion of publicly funded pharmacy services will be considered in the context of available resources, the potential for health gain and Government priorities for the health service.