TWO pharmacies in the Tivyside area are part of a new service to determine if a patient requires antibiotics for sore throat symptoms.

The ‘Sore Throat Test and Treat’ scheme rolled out by Hywel Dda health authority allows patients to call into their local chemist and be tested by a trained pharmacist using a quick and pain free test.

Following a consultation and assessment by the pharmacist, medication may be supplied for those patients where an antibiotic is required.

In many cases, a sore throat is the result of a viral rather than bacterial infection which means antibiotics will not work, and self-care and rest are the best course of action.

The service is available at 18 pharmacies across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire – including Bridge Pharmacy, Bridge Street, Newcastle Emlyn and Penryn Pharmacy, Banc y Dyffryn, Aberporth.

A pilot carried out last year in Cwm Taf and Betsi Cadwaladr Health Boards has shown:

• Almost 94 per cent of patients seen would have sought an appointment with a GP had the service not been available.

• Of a total of 601 consultations for sore throats, 475 patients did not receive a supply of antibiotics.

• 98 per cent patient satisfaction with the service.

Jill Paterson, director of primary care, community and long-term care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: "Our community pharmacies do a lot more these days than simply dispense medication and in some cases they can save a trip to a GP or an accident and emergency department and as you don’t have to make an appointment, they offer a quick and flexible way to access healthcare."