PARENTS with children suffering from sore throats or skin infections that may need antibiotics can go straight to the pharmacist, thanks to an initiative.

In an expansion of the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland programme, pharmacists are allowed to prescribe Penicillin V for children over the age of five with acute sore threats, saving a visit to the GP.

Pharmacists can also prescribe Flucloxacillin for skin infections in young people up to the age of 17 while also offering a free sharps disposal service for diabetic patients and for those whose self-treatment requires injections.

Laura Byrne, director of pharmacy at NHS Forth Valley, said: “The expansion of the Pharmacy First programme increases the range of treatments available for minor illnesses, making them even more accessible for people in Forth Valley.

“It plays an important part in helping people access the right care in the right place at the right time, without having to go to their GP practice or accident and emergency department for non-urgent treatment.

“In the event that the pharmacist feels the condition needs further investigation or specialist care they will refer patients to the appropriate service, which could be a GP, optometrist, dentist, or other NHS service.”

Pharmacies have been playing a greater role in providing treatment and advice as well as prescribing medicines for a range of minor illnesses since the Pharmacy First scheme has been introduced.

Patients can receive free advice and treatment for conditions such as coughs, sore throats, urine infections, indigestion and more.