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Think Pharmacy this winter

Think Pharmacy this winter
29 October 2014

With winter looming, we're urging people to Think Pharmacy if they fall ill with a wide range of common ailments.

Pharmacists are highly-qualified healthcare professionals who can offer expert advice on a wide range of illnesses, giving the area’s 23 GP practices more time to see patients.

As well as making up prescriptions written by GPs, pharmacists can:

  • Give advice on the over-the-counter medicines they sell
  • Review medicines in private
  • Dispose safely of old or unwanted medication
  • Signpost people to services to help them lose weight, stop smoking or cut down on alcohol.

Pharmacists can also provide the morning-after pill, supervise methadone consumption and provide free treatment for some minor conditions or for no more than the standard prescription charge of £8.05. People exempted from prescription charges would not have to pay.

And pharmacies can now offer the NHS-funded flu jabs that were previously available only from GP practices. In addition, more than 98 per cent of Eastern Cheshire’s 204,000 people live within 20 minutes of a pharmacist.

Andrew Hodgson, pharmacist with Andrew’s Pharmacy in London Road, Macclesfield, said:

 “Pharmacists train for five years and can offer expert advice on many of the illnesses that GPs can help with. They can advise patients on the benefits and possible side effects of medicines prescribed by the doctor and can guide people on which over-the-counter medication to buy. That’s why I’m backing the CCG’s Think Pharmacy campaign.”

 Dr Graham Duce, the CCG’s medicine management lead, added:

“As the weather worsens and the pressure grows on GP practices, I’m hoping that people will Think Pharmacy and also bear in mind the many other health services that can help. For example, the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk offers great advice on a huge range of ailments and illnesses while the NHS 111 service is there to give advice on non-emergency conditions during the day and when the doctor’s surgery is closed.

“We also have an out-of-hours GP service which operates from 6.30pm to 8am weekdays and all day at the weekends and on bank holidays. It is based in Macclesfield District General Hospital and can be contacted on 01625 502999.

“In addition, Congleton War Memorial Hospital operates the area’s minor injury unit for the treatment of cuts, grazes, sprains and many other problems.”

THINK PHARMACY: The message is spelled out loud and clear at Andrew’s Pharmacy by, left to right, dispenser Helen Walters, pre-registration pharmacist Rosie Poole, Andrew, senior medicines counter assistant Sara Greenwood, and Janet Kenyon, the CCG’s deputy head of prescribing and medicines optimisation.

Click here for lots of advice on choosing the right service at the right time.

Meanwhile, we're working with the area’s GPs and pharmacies to extend the range of common conditions on which pharmacists can offer advice and treatment without the need for a prescription. In England, there are 438 million visits a year to more than 11,500 community pharmacies. Adults visit a pharmacist an average of 16 times a year. Many pharmacies open in the evenings and at weekends.