A NEW service has been launched in Barnsley to help reduce the strain on doctors and minimise waiting times.
NHS Barnsley's Clinical Commissioning Group has launched the free Pharmacyfirst scheme - which will give advice and medicines for treating minor illnesses and ailments.
It comes after research showed that 40 per cent of a GP's time is taken up dealing with minor conditions like coughs and colds, head lice, heartburn, eczema and dermatitis - that could be dealt with by a pharmacist.
Dr Nick Balac, chair of Barnsley CCG, said: "Pharmacyfirst means that patients can now go straight to a pharmacist as their first port of call.
"This will free up GP time for dealing with more complex conditions, and may also decrease waiting times for appointments for those that really need them."
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