Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why You Should Make Your Pharmac Y First Port of Call before Trying a GP ; Pharmacists Can Be » Asked for Advice and Recommend treatmentsPeople Who Struggle » to See a GP Can See Their Pharmacist First

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why You Should Make Your Pharmac Y First Port of Call before Trying a GP ; Pharmacists Can Be » Asked for Advice and Recommend treatmentsPeople Who Struggle » to See a GP Can See Their Pharmacist First

Article excerpt

JUST one in three people would think of asking a local pharmacist for health advice. And a massive 91 per cent believe dispensing medicines is a pharmacist's main role.

But today, the pharmacy chain Boots, which carried out the poll, is aiming to raise awareness of the huge variety of services available - including those aimed at preventing ill health in the first place.

Stephen Fishwick, of the National Pharmacy Association, which represents independent pharmacies, said: "It's important people are made more aware of what's available on their doorstep in pharmacies so they don't make unnecessary trips to the GP or even A&E. "Community pharmacies provide prompt access to professional healthcare advice and now offer a wide range of clinical and public health services, as well as treatments for common ailments.

cold "You might be surprised at what pharmacies now offer: personalised medicines advice, help to quit smoking and to maintain good sexual health, treatment for common ailments, advice on preventing disease and more. It's a package of care, not just packets of pills."

Diabetes risk assessments and stop smoking advice are just some of the services on offer at the 2,300 Boots pharmacies across the country.

Patients in England and Wales eligible for a free NHS winter flu jab will this year be able to get it in selected pharmacies, including Boots.

Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, said: "More pharmacies are taking on the role of a 'health hub' where people can go to get advice.

"Local authorities and the NHS are commissioning pharmacies to offer prevention services rather than cure.

"We have a great network of pharmacies across the UK with trained health professionals in each one, who can make a real difference to people's health."

RELIEF " More than 15 million people in England are living with long-term health conditions.

Half of all GP appointments and 70 per cent of hospital beds are taken up by patients living with one or more long-term health problems.

And the number of people with three or more long-term disorders is expected to have increased to 2.9 million by 2018. Boots pharmacies want to raise awareness of how they can help patients better manage these conditions.

Trained staff have expertise to deliver a range of NHS and privately-run services, and you will usually have a choice of daytime, evening and weekend appointments.

Mr Darracott said: "Between five and seven per cent of people are admitted to hospital in an emergency because they haven't been taking their medicines properly.

"By improving people's knowledge through free NHS services such as the medicine use review we can improve people's knowledge to help them better manage their conditions and have better relief of their symptoms.

We recommend their local pharmacy "Inhalers are a good example. …

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