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Choose Pharmacy STTT boosts infection screening stewardship

17 November 2022

Community pharmacists in Wales are using a bacterial detection service to encourage patients to screen against infections.

Choose Pharmacy’s Sore Throat Test and Treat service (STTT) promotes antimicrobial stewardship by using a stepwise approach of a clinical examination by a pharmacist and, for patients who meet the criteria, an on-the-spot sore throat swab service to screen against bacterial infections. If bacteria are not detected, the sore throat is probably caused by a virus - meaning antibiotics will not help. Results from the throat swab are provided in minutes, and if a bacterial infection is present and the patient can be helped by antibiotics, they may be supplied by the pharmacist.

Antibiotics are only supplied after the pharmacist discusses benefits and possible harms, including antibiotic resistance. Results are sent digitally to the patient’s GP via Choose Pharmacy, the digital infrastructure that DHCW developed to support provision of services in community pharmacies in Wales.

At an Infection Research meeting in Sweden recently, DHCW Clinical Research and Evaluation Manager and Reader at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University, Dr Efi Mantzourani, spoke to members of GRIN (the General practice Research on Infection Network) - a European network of researchers studying respiratory tract and other infections in primary care about the benefits of the service.

She presented results including a long-term evaluation of the service, with a total of 94% of patients who received a STTT consultation reporting that they would have made an appointment with a GP or emergency services had the service not been available, and about one in five consultations resulting in antibiotic supply – emphasising the pivotal role that community pharmacists can play in antimicrobial stewardship. Delegates also heard about how DHCW is working with the SAIL databank to look at more data that will help evaluate the service and the patient experience.

“It was inspiring to promote the value of Choose Pharmacy at an international meeting, without which we wouldn’t have been able to have national data on STTT consultations," Dr Efi Mantzourani says. "We are privileged in Wales to have this resource, and I hope to represent DHCW in future meetings to present all the advancements of the system.”