COLUMN: Pharmacists are on hand for help

Doctors waiting room.  Chesterfield.
Doctors waiting room. Chesterfield.
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Recently, I’ve been thinking about the traditional image of the pharmacist or ‘chemist’. You’re probably thinking of a man in a white coat standing behind a counter full of medicines. But inside the coat is a healthcare professional with a wealth of knowledge.

I want to encourage you to start asking pharmacists about all health related matters, not just about your prescriptions. We can very often help and it might just save you a trip to the GP.

I’m sharing this with you because a recent NHS England report concluded that there is potential for a community pharmacy to relieve pressure on other services.

I heard a figure the other day that took me by surprise.

In Derbyshire there are around 1.5 million calls or visits each year for urgent or unplanned care. This makes up about one-third of overall NHS activity and more than half the costs. Demand peaks during the winter and the pressure is piled on what are already stretched services.

For ease of access, and no appointment necessary, why not ask your pharmacist for help.

The pharmacist can advise on suitable treatment options and will be on the alert for symptoms that are a cause for concern. In the latter case you may be directed to another healthcare provider who is better placed to help on this occasion. This will give you the reassurance that you aren’t wasting anybody’s time, including your own.

The NHS flu vaccination is also available from most Derbyshire pharmacies for those patients most at risk of complications and hospital admission as a result of catching flu.

So to relieve winter pressures on healthcare providers, visit your local community pharmacist.