NHS England have recently launched their Stay Well campaign to encourage more parents with young children to visit their pharmacy for advice and treatment with minor ailments. Although the campaign is targeted at parents with children 5 and under it is an important message. You local, community pharmacy can offer so much more than most people realise. More people should be encouraged to use pharmacies rather than visiting their GP for minor health concerns.
Although the campaign’s intention may be to relieve the pressure currently on GPs and A&E departments for minor complaints your local pharmacy can provide the right advice and/or treatment immediately without an appointment or a wait. Your pharmacist should be your first port of call in many common circumstances.
There are 18m appointments with GP’s and over 2 million visits to A&E departments every year for conditions that are self-treatable, this costs the health service £850m.
Millions of parents could get more convenient and timely expert advice by taking their concerns to their local pharmacist first, which would also ease pressure on GPs and emergency services, the campaign will say.
NHS England said research showed that only 6% of parents with children under the age of five would consider seeking help about a minor health concern from a high street pharmacist in the first instance.
Dr Bruce Warner, the deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for England, said: “Pharmacists are highly trained NHS health professionals who are able to offer clinical advice and effective treatments for a wide range of minor health concerns right there and then.
“They can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own with a few days’ rest.
“However, if symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they have the right clinical training to ensure people get the help they need. We want to help the public get the most effective use of these skilled clinicians who are available every day of the week.”
Netmums’ editor-in-chief, Annie O’Leary, said: “We’re committed to raising awareness of the best way parents can keep their little ones well, and that’s why we’re supporting the Stay Well Pharmacy campaign from NHS England.
“Pharmacists can assess your child’s symptoms and provide clinical advice, or simply provide reassurance that it is nothing more serious.”
This all comes at a time when community pharmacists are under increasing pressure form government cuts so please use us - or lose us
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