AN ASSEMBLY Member has shown his support for a pilot scheme aiming to reduce winter pressures.

Jack Sargeant, AM for Alyn and Deeside, welcomed the Sore Throat Test and Treat service which has been piloted in local pharmacies across the country.

The AM recently visited the Community Pharmacy in Caergwrle, in his constituency and he said it is leading the way on the pilot scheme.

In a business statement at the Senedd, Mr Sargeant said: "It’s doing fantastic work and is leading the way on the pilot scheme for a Sore Throat Test and Treat service in Wales.

"It’s already delivered great results by radically reducing the amounts of medicines prescribed and reducing pressure off local GP services.

"Could the Minister for Health bring forward an update on this pilot scheme because I think it would be extremely positive to roll out the Sore Throat Test and Treat service across Wales ahead of this year’s winter pressures?"

The pilot schemes in Wales have reduced the amount of medicines prescribed and taken pressure off local GP services.

It has resulted in a reduction in pressure in GP and out of hour appointments with over 90 per cent of patients saying they would have gone to their GP without this service.

Betsi Cadwaladr had 390 community pharmacy consultations for Sore Throat Test and Treat, resulting in just 55 people getting antibiotics - 86 per cent did not need antibiotics.

Mr Sargeant met with Judy Henley from Community Pharmacy Wales, who said the service was speedy and reliable.

She added: "The early results of this pilot in Betsi Cadwaladr have shown an incredible return in terms of a reduced medicines budget, an improved diagnostic service and a patient satisfaction rate of 98 per cent.

"Based on the strength of the outcomes in the pilot areas, we are hoping the Welsh Government will commit as soon as possible to funding Sore Throat Test and Treat on a Wales-wide basis so that every community pharmacy can offer the public this speedy, reliable and accessible service."

Community Pharmacy Wales in now asking the Welsh Government and Local Health Boards to roll out the Sore Throat Test and Treat service from all community pharmacies in Wales for the Winter of 2019/20 to help with Winter Pressures.