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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 01:42 GMT
Local pharmacists take on GP role
Pharmacists will be able to prescribe medication for minor ailments
Nearly 39,000 people across the Forth Valley have signed up for a new scheme to have health advice provided by pharmacists rather than their GP.

The service is available only to those patients exempt from prescription charges and who present with minor illnesses.

Patients will be assessed by the pharmacists and prescribed medication.

The minor ailments service is part of a new contract which gives pharmacists a bigger role in health care.

'Minor ailments'

NHS Forth Valley said patients would be able to get advice, receive treatment where necessary and also be referred to other health professionals with the new service.

Health bosses hope the use of pharmacists will help relieve some of the pressures on GP practices during the winter months.

The health authority's chief pharmacist, Susan Bishop, said: "We hope to encourage more people who don't pay for prescriptions to use this service.

"You can register at any time. It is an easy way to get advice or treatment for a minor ailment without having to visit your GP."

To use the service people have to register with a pharmacy of their choice and sign a form completed by the pharmacist.

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