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Our brand new course launched this week and is designed to give the underpinning clinical knowledge to support a Sore Throat Test and Treat service. The course is aimed at confidently running a full consultation with the patient from taking a history to diagnosing and delivering a management plan with the patient.

There were many elements of this training that were entirely new to the pharmacists we were training and we were able to build on the key areas where they needed a boost in confidence and knowledge.

The medical model of history taking was quite a new concept for many that attended this course but when we explored the possible causes of sore throats together, it became clear very quickly to the pharmacists that this skill is very important. It is said that over 80% of diagnoses are made on history alone, so spending some significant time exploring this aspect was pertinent. We have given the pharmacists the building blocks and structure to take a systematic and thorough history, looking at all the relevant areas and they will be able to build upon this when they start seeing these patients.

The physical examination of the patient was also very beneficial. It really highlighted the importance of looking further than simply seeing if the throat is red and inflamed and for the presence or absence of exudate on the tonsils. We spent time looking at what else could be present and what to be aware of that could be indicators of other underlying more serious issues or complications of infection.

Finally, the third area that really stood out as being beneficial was looking at a differential diagnosis; exploring what else could have caused the symptoms, being aware of the conditions or infections which would need referring appropriately (either to the GP or to the Emergency Department) and being able to rule those out in the patient so we safely treat the appropriate patients.

At the end of this course, all the pharmacists felt much more prepared to see and treat the patients that walk into the pharmacy. Some of the feedback we got included “Really helped with key consultation skills & information of red flag symptoms” and “thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a lot of information, thank you”.

If this course could be useful to support your new test and treat services then please get in touch to discuss your needs.

Written by Sophie McCracken, Tuesday 30th October 2018