The Welsh government has established a country-wide sticker campaign to help raise awareness of the NHS services that are available on the High Street.
Launched by the government’s cabinet secretary for health, Vaughan Gething, the new stickers will appear in the windows of optometrists’, dentists’ and community pharmacists’ practices across Wales, with the aim of improving public awareness of the role independent contractors play in providing NHS services.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr Gething said: “Our pharmacies, optometry practices and dental practices provide convenient health services for people in their own communities. Along with GPs, they are a person’s first, and often their most frequent, point of contact with a healthcare professional.”
He added: “[Independent contractors] are increasingly taking on clinical roles that have previously been the domain of doctors, and sometimes hospitals, and are taking greater responsibility for providing advice and treatment for people with minor ailments.
“If a person has a problem with their teeth, then in Wales they should visit a dentist, or if they have a problem with their eyes or vision, their local optometrist is the best person to consult with. Pharmacies can prescribe medication for a number of minor ailments without needing a doctor's prescription.
“We want the public to be aware of all of these NHS services in their communities and to use them, rather than GPs or casualty, where appropriate.”
Welcoming the campaign, chief executive of Optometry Wales, Sali Davis, told OT: “We are encouraging all practices to prominently display these stickers to help raise the awareness that practices don’t just sell glasses and that we are independent contractors to the NHS, the same as dentists and pharmacists.”
Practices that have not received stickers should email Ms Davis.