Patients urged to visit pharmacy for common ailments

PHARMACISTS can better support the NHS, which is under a lot of strain, by offering first-hand support to patients.

People suffering from minor ailments such as coughs, colds or hay fever should visit a pharmacy before making an appointment to see their GP, as community pharmacists are equipped to deal with a range of minor health issues.

Prameet Shah, a community pharmacist for almost 25 years, said: “A lot of people are surprised to find out that every pharmacist trains for five years in the use of medicines before they qualify and is also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice to help people stay well.”

One of the benefits of consulting a community pharmacist is the ease with which patients can obtain clinical advice on minor health concerns.

More than 90 per cent of pharmacies across the country have a consulting room where patients can request to talk to a member of the pharmacy team in private.

And if the health concerns turn serious, pharmacists have the right clinical training to make sure patients get the help they need immediately and can refer patients to a GP or A&E where necessary.

Proximity is another added advantage. “Most people live within easy reach of a pharmacy and many of them offer extended opening hours in the evenings and at the weekends,” Shah said.

By consulting a community pharmacist, people can deal with signs of illness at an early stage to prevent them from getting worse.

Shah added: “By following the expert advice of community pharmacists, you can help the NHS help you stay well; prevent an illness getting worse; take the best course of action; and get well again sooner.”

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