RESIDENTS across Barnsley will now be able to get treatment for seven common conditions at their high street pharmacy without needing to see a GP - as the government and NHS roll out the scheme in a bid to cut waiting times.

The scheme is part of the NHS and government’s primary care access recovery plan, which committed to making accessing healthcare easier for millions of people.

The major expansion of pharmacy services will give the public choice in where and how they access care, aiming to free up ten million GP appointments a year nationally.

Analysis of NHS data shows the number of registered GP patients in the NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board increased from 1,403,000 people in September 2015 to 1,516,000 in December.

Meanwhile, the full-time and fully qualified GP workforce in the area fell from 726 doctors to 695 over the same period.

The figures also show there are currently 119 full-time equivalent GPs in Barnsley.

It meant the patient list of the average South Yorkshire GP grew by 250 people to a total of 2,182 patients last year - an increase of 13 per cent.

The new project, which is active at a number of Barnsley GPs, means highly-trained pharmacists will be able to assess and treat patients for sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women (under the age of 65) without the need for an appointment or prescription.

If you have symptoms of one of these conditions, you can be referred to your local pharmacy from your GP practice or NHS 111, or you can walk into your local pharmacy at a time that is convenient for you, without making an appointment and be seen by the pharmacist.

You will be offered a consultation.

Should the pharmacy team be unable to help, you will be directed to your GP surgery or other appropriate healthcare setting or A and E as appropriate.

Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “We welcome the new Pharmacy First service which has seen excellent take up from our community pharmacies across South Yorkshire.

“The service will help improve access to healthcare across our area and will enable local people to an alternative, quick and convenient option, for minor illnesses without the need to visit their GP practice.

“It will also support our primary care services who are working hard to provide the most appropriate and timely care for their patients across communities.”