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Pharmacists to take over Treatment of Long-Term Illnesses

Treatment of patients with long term illnesses like Parkinson's and heart disease will soon be handled by pharmacists according to yesterday’s announcement.//

Proposals have been made to train some ''expert chemists" in order to take over the assessment of patients' medical conditions and management of their drugs, from GPs.

Besides this some will also hold their own specialist clinics for patients with life-threatening conditions like diabetes and asthma.

These reforms are a part of key NHS plans which will move more patient care into the community and so that the burden on overcrowded GP surgeries and hospitals is eased.

However doctors and patient groups warned that the move could switch care away from expert care and could spell worse healthcare for patients.

In addition they warned that confusion among patients as to whether they should visit their GP or pharmacist was also bound to come forth.

As per the new reforms, patients would still go to their GP for diagnosis but could then be referred to a high-street chemist for regular follow-up treatment and advice.

In addition some pharmacists will also be offered further training to in conditions like skin disorders and sexually-transmitted infections, as well as the management of drugs that prevent strokes and heart disease.

They would have separate rooms to carry out simple examinations and blood tests needed to make prescriptions.

Patient groups fear that although expert doctors would still be making the major decisions and diagnoses, pharmacists might step into this territory as well. Joyce Robins, co-director of the campaign group Patient Concern said: "There are dangers in going down this kind of way. It is trying to do things on the cheap, like a lot of things on the health service."

"We are very, very cautious about this and can't really see how this is going to work.

"Most pharmacists
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