‘Stay Well Pharmacy’ is a new campaign from NHS England which encourages people, especially parents and carers of children under the age of 5, to visit their local pharmacy team first for clinical advice for minor health concerns such as sore throats, coughs, colds, tummy troubles, teething and aches and pains.
Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals who are the right people to see if you need clinical advice or over the counter medicines to help safely manage a wide range of minor health concerns. Pharmacists are trained in managing minor illness and can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own with a few days’ rest.
Dr Steve Ollerton, a local GP and Clinical Leader of NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Pharmacists play a key role in providing quality healthcare. They’re experts in medicines, and use their clinical expertise, together with their practical knowledge, to advise you on common problems, such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as healthy eating and stopping smoking.”
Dr David Kelly, a local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG added: “Pharmacists can also help you decide whether you need to see a health professional. By visiting your pharmacy instead of your GP, you could save yourself time and trouble – no need to book an appointment, just walk in. If the pharmacist thinks you need to see a GP for your illness, they will advise you to do that.”
With most people living within easy reach of a pharmacy and with many pharmacies offering extended opening hours in the evenings and at weekends, pharmacy teams offer fast and convenient clinical support with no appointment needed. Most community pharmacies (over 90%) now offer a private consultation room, suitable for a confidential conversation, should it be requested.
Using a pharmacy for minor health concerns will help free up GP time for more urgent appointments and help reduce non-emergency A&E visits.
Search www.nhs.uk/staywellpharmacy for more information and to help you find your nearest NHS pharmacy services and opening hours.
Remember, calling NHS 111 also makes it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services in England. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help; it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.