Health leaders in Derbyshire are urging patients to visit their pharmacist this winter for advice on common health complaints to help family doctors spend more time with seriously ill patients.
The call comes as Ask Your Pharmacist Week gets underway until November 15 and highlights the services and medical questions pharmacists can help with.
As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists are there to provide free advice on health issues including how to treat complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.
They offer additional services including stopping smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and Body Mass Index checks for those aged between 40 and 74.
As part of the new NHS national contract almost 150 Derbyshire pharmacies are offering flu vaccinations.
Dr Steve Lloyd, GP Chair for NHS Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals therefore they have expert knowledge on prescription and over the counter medicines.
“By visiting your pharmacist for advice on how to prevent and treat common illnesses you will be helping to free up GP appointments for people with more complicated or serious conditions.”
Dr Ben Milton, Chair of NHS North Derbyshire CCG and GP at Darley Dale Medical Centre, : “Many pharmacies are open seven days a week and late into the evening.”
People can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting www.nhs.uk.