Have you ever thought, “I’ll speak to the pharmacist about this”?
Maybe when you’re under the weather but not quite poorly enough to make an emergency GP appointment or rush to A&E, or when you’re unsure about a new prescription and possible side-effects, or even just for general advice on, say, managing high blood pressure.
We’ve all read reports in recent years about how community pharmacies are under-used, yet could play a significant role in helping reduce the pressure on over-stretched GP practices and A&E departments – as well as providing a potentially very useful service to the public.
“People are definitely using their pharmacist as a first port of call for non-serious ailments, but there will always be a need to promote this message,” says Boots UK pharmacist Angela Chalmers.
“It’s important people are reassured that even if it’s something the pharmacist is unable to treat, then they will be signposted in the right direction.”
The services don’t stop at minor ailments, either. Did you know, for instance, at many pharmacies up and down the country, you can pop in for advice on managing diabetes, get your cholesterol levels checked or find out which vaccines you’ll need before travelling?
While pharmacists’ expertise centres on medications, “dispnesing prescriptions is only part of what they can do,” says Steve Rile, Care spokesperson and clinical director at Medicines Optimisation Ltd.