AN INITIATIVE to allow patients access treatments in pharmacies, in part pioneered by an Alloa man, has been fully rolled out across the Forth Valley.

The Pharmacy First scheme is available across all 75 community pharmacies in the wider area.

It allows people to get expert advice and treatment for minor illnesses and common conditions – without the need to see the GP.

People can receive help for conditions such as sore throats, earache, cold sores, urinary tract infections, impetigo and skin conditions for instance.

Pharmacists will be able to refer patients to other healthcare professionals if they think necessary.

As previously highlighted in the Advertiser at the time, Alloa man Jonathan Burton received an MBE in 2018 for his services to healthcare.

The community pharmacist of more than two decades, a co-founder at Right Medicine Pharmacy at the University of Stirling, Jonathan was the first to offer the drop-in service.

He played a key part in driving the initiative forward, but always insisted it has been a team effort with the MBE being "an award for all of us".

With the service now rolled out to all outlets in the area Kirstin Cassells, from NHS Forth Valley's Community Pharmacy Development Team, said: "This new service will help people access healthcare and advice without having to go to their GP or emergency department for non-urgent treatment.

"During the current pandemic people have been following public health guidance closely and have been using their local pharmacy for medical advice and help."

As part of the initiative, pharmacists will ask patients for their name, date of birth and postcode.

In most cases there is no need to make an appointment,

Pharmacists will be keeping medication records to make not of any advice and treatment provided.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman added: "This service gives access to the right care in the right place, getting medical support that is closer to home and often with no waiting time or appointments needed.

"While the NHS is there for all of us, we don't all need to go to accident and emergency.

"For many of us, it is not the right place for the care we need.

"NHS Pharmacy First Scotland provides a local service, giving local access to healthcare help for many illnesses."