Pharmacists – help on the high street from experts in medicines
Where can you get prompt help or advice from a qualified health professional who is an expert in medicines, without an appointment? From your local high street pharmacist, of course.
With the NHS under intense pressure it’s wise to make the pharmacist your first port of call if you feel unwell. Nine out of ten people live within 20 minutes of a pharmacy.
Everyone is familiar with going to the pharmacy for a prescription, or painkillers, but did you know that pharmacists have five years of training in the use of medicines? As well as being qualified to dispense your NHS prescription, pharmacists can offer advice on a wide range of health problems.
If you have a cold, cough or other common ailment such as a tummy bug, earache or eye infection, seek advice from your local pharmacist right away before you start to feel worse. Pharmacists can give clinical advice on how to manage your illness, or recommend over the counter remedies, and they know when to refer you to the GP if they suspect it is more serious.
The great thing about a local pharmacy, is that it is so easy to access. Over 84% of adults in the country visited a pharmacy last year.
Julie Horslen, Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist with Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“As healthcare professionals we provide advice on minor health conditions daily. We also provide support to patients when they first take a medicine for a long term condition and can advise on how to safely take and use medicines, such as an inhaler.
“Pharmacies have a consultation room, so patients can discuss health problems in private just as they would with their GP, but without the need to make an appointment.
“I strongly advise everyone to have the flu jab. It’s not too late and is free to those for whom flu is a serious health risk, including people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women, over 65s and young children. Or buy it from your local pharmacy. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your family from a nasty virus.
Dr Dal Sahota, a local GP and Emergency Medicine Lead for Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“When you call 111 for urgent medical help, you could be referred to a pharmacist. It’s a good thing if this happens because it means that your condition is not serious enough to need hospital or a doctor, but you are still able to get immediate access to the right clinical advice and possibly medication to help you, without having to attend hospital or a clinic and wait for an appointment.
“By working together, GPs and pharmacists can give the best possible care to patients. As GPs working in the NHS, we know that pharmacists are professional, highly trained and a vital part of our health services.”
Pharmacists can offer a whole range of additional services such as: travel vaccinations; emergency contraception; help to stop smoking; blood pressure testing; and reviews of your prescribed medicines.
- With extended opening hours at evenings and weekends, pharmacies should be top of the list for anyone seeking convenient, quick, professional health advice..
To find your nearest pharmacy visit www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy/