Patients urged to get pharmacy advice and avoide A&E

PATIENTS in Matlock are being encouraged to get expert help and advice from their pharmacist on minor illnesses to save long waits in A&E.

Health bosses from NHS Derbyshire say many pharmacies are open seven days a week, and in the evenings, and are trained to give advice on medicines and a range of other essential health services.

They are also backing a national ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’, which ran from Tuesday, November 7 to Sunday, November 13.

Pauline Eastwood, primary care commissioning manager at NHS Derbyshire, said: “Pharmacies offer a huge range of services and products- from treatments for coughs, colds, stomach upsets, allergies and skin conditions, holiday health care to stop smoking, weight control and counselling advice.

“But many people especially over the winter months don’t realise that their pharmacist can help, and automatically book an appointment with their GP or visit A&E which puts unnecessary additional pressure on health services.”

Ask Your Pharmacist Week aims to reverse this perception- and let people know that pharmacies can play a vital role in helping them lead healthier lives.

Many pharmacies offer extra services such as chlamydia screening, mole checks, cholesterol checks and the flu jab. Staff are easily accessible, and appointments aren’t always necessary.”

Little known services provided at pharmacies include free NHS Medicines Use Reviews and private face-to-face medicine check-ups for people with long term illnesses such as asthma and diabetes.

Statistics show that nationally 8 per cent of people attending A&E could have been treated at their local pharmacist- saving time and money.