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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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