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Pharmacy campaign aims to ease pressure on NHS services this winter

The NHS is facing winter pressures as millions visit their GP or A&E as first port of call for winter sniffles. 

A new campaign ‘Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice’ aims to ease pressure on NHS services and reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

  • Unnecessary GP and A&E visits for winter ailments could cost the NHS over £343 million
  • Nearly half who visit the GP for common winter ailments do so because they want antibiotics
  • Younger generation are the biggest culprits for wasting GP time
  • Only one in five make use of their local pharmacy despite long GP waiting times

New research reveals an alarming 6 million UK adults would visit their GP and over 2 million would visitTreat Yourself Better poster A&E as a first port of call for common winter ailments such as colds and flu. With each GP consultation costing the NHS £43 and an A&E walk-in-service costing £41, this could equate to a staggering cost of over £343 million, which could be better spent on people who need medical attention.

The research, carried out to support the Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice campaign, finds that one of the most common reasons people (44%) visit the GP when suffering with a winter ailment is because they want or think they need antibiotics.  However, antibiotics don’t have any impact on common winter ailments which are caused by viruses as they only work against bacteria.

Only one in five (21%) adults make use of their local pharmacy for winter ailments. This week sees the launch of a new winter health campaign Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice, backed by the Department of Health (DH) and Public Health England (PHE), which encourages people to treat winter ailments themselves and to seek advice from their pharmacist before going directly to their GP.

The Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice campaign hopes people will think twice before making a GP appointment.

For further information on self-treating winter ailments, how long you can expect symptoms to last and warning signs to look out for, visit the Treat Yourself Better website.

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Choose well this bank holiday

GP surgeries across North Kirklees will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday (August 25) so doctors are encouraging their patients to make sure they have enough prescribed drugs in stock for the long weekend.

They are also reminding patients to have a stock of over-the-counter medicines for common minor illnesses and to ‘choose well’ if it’s more serious but not life threatening, by calling NHS 111 for help or advice.

Dr David Kelly, GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “ Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and can give advice and help with common illnesses like insect bites and stings, rashes, headaches, coughs and colds and upset tummies. Several pharmacies will be open in our area on Bank Holiday Monday,  NHS 111 is there to take pressure off hospital Accident and Emergency Units but will still get a GP or ambulance to patients who need help urgently, so it makes sense for patients to call the service first if they need urgent help for something that isn’t life threatening ”.

Pharmacies open on Bank Holiday Monday are:

Oakwood Pharmacy, The Old Salvation Army Hall, 74 Blackburn Road, Birstall, WF17 9PL.Tel: (01924) 474244

10:00 – 16:00

Boots UK Ltd, Unit 3, Birstall Retail Park, Birstall, WF17 9DT. Tel: (01924) 423675

09:00 – 18:00

Boots UK Ltd, The Prince of Wales Precinct, Long Causeway, Dewsbury, WF13 1NH. Tel: (01924) 455815

10:00 – 16:00

Davison (Chemist) Ltd, Dewsbury Health Centre, Wellington Road, Dewsbury, WF13 1HN. Tel: (01924) 462371

08:00 – 20:00

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, Goods Lane, Railway Street, Dewsbury, WF12 8EB. Tel: (01924) 466549

09:00 – 19:00

Asda Stores Ltd, Mill Street West, Dewsbury, WF12 9AE. Tel: (01924) 431510

09:00 – 18:00

Ends

Further information from:  CSU Media Hub, tel: 07824 463 578 media.hub@nmecomms.nhs.uk

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