LONDON, September 8 /PRNewswire/ --

Pharmacists could help reduce GP workloads by 20 per cent, saving the NHS millions of pounds every year, according to Steve Churton, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB).

Addressing delegates at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester today, RPSGB President Steve Churton said:

"Every year patients with minor ailments generate over 50 million GP consultations: that's almost 20 per cent of doctors' workloads, costing the NHS more than GBP1.5 billion. There is absolutely no reason why such consultations could not be handled by pharmacists, releasing an hour a day for every GP in the country to see patients with more complex needs.

"The Government White Paper, Pharmacy in England: building on strengths - delivering the future, is what the profession has been waiting for. It lays out plans for community pharmacies as healthy living centres - delivering minor ailment services, screening for vascular disease and sexually transmitted infections and providing more support to people with long-term conditions - with routine check-ups and monitoring available on a drop-in basis."

Notes to editors:

About the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB)

The RPSGB is the professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians on a voluntary basis, which is expected to become statutory under anticipated legislation. The primary objectives of the Society are to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy.

The Society leads and supports the development of the profession within the context of the public benefit. This includes the advancement of science, practice, education and knowledge in pharmacy. In addition, it promotes the profession's policies and views to a range of external stakeholders in a number of different forums.

Following the publication in 2007 of the Government White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety - The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century, the Society is working towards the demerger of its regulatory and professional roles. This will see the establishment of a new General Pharmaceutical Council and a new professional body for pharmacy in 2010.

About the British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 (BPC)

BPC 2008: Pharmacy in the 21st Century: Adding years to life and life to years. In 2008, as the NHS marks its 60th anniversary year, BPC will examine how pharmacy and the pharmaceutical services are helping to add years to life and life to the year of the UK population. The profession of pharmacy plays an important role in meeting the healthcare challenges associated with the UK's ageing population.

How can pharmacists contribute to caring for the population as well as ensuring quality of life? Increasingly, scientists and practitioners have to consider the cost implications of this conundrum, and the evidence base for all interventions is becoming of paramount importance: BPC 2008 will debate these issues and open up discussion on them. Visit:

The main sponsors of BPC 2008 are: Boots The Chemists (Lead Sponsor), AstraZeneca (Associate Sponsor and BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor), Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) (Associate Sponsor) and GSK (BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor).

For media enquiries please contact: The British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 Press Office, (September 7, 8, and 9 only), Tel: +44(0)161-827-8765, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8766, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8767, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8768, Fax: +44(0)161-839-9311. Mobile: Tel: +44(0)7792-109-834, Tel: +44(0)7739-533-658 or: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit +44(0)20-7572-2335