Local NHS leaders are welcoming the news that more local people are using their pharmacy as a first port of call for advice on common illness and injuries, to get emergency prescriptions and health promotion programmes. Latest figures for 2017 show that over 10,000 people were given help and advice in relation to health campaigns on areas such as cancer and diabetes. In addition, a new emergency pharmacy service has saved 5,209 Lancashire and South Cumbria GP out of hours appointments since commencement on 21 June 2017.
NHS England’s medical director Dr Kieran Murphy says that this is a positive development for the NHS as a whole, as demand for NHS services continues to rise.
Dr Murphy said: “There is growing awareness that the NHS family stretches beyond the GP surgery and the A&E department. Pharmacy staff are highly trained and are local experts on treatment for a range of common illnesses and injuries. If people are going to their pharmacy for advice in the first instance, this helps to take the pressure off already busy GP and A&E services.”
Stephanie Arnold lives in Blackpool and regularly visits the Whitworth Chemists pharmacy on Whitegate Drive, Blackpool for advice on treating her 2 year-old son’s milk allergy and other childhood illness. The pharmacist supported the diagnosis of Luka’s milk allergy. “I’m really confident that the help I get supports us to keep on top of Luka’s condition. The team here is excellent. They know me and Luka well and if I need to speak to someone, I don’t need to make an appointment. The fact that they are open on a Saturday as well is really convenient for us.”
Irfan Tariq is, a pharmacist and Chair of Community Pharmacy Lancashire: “Pharmacies have always had an important local role in the community and now they are increasingly recognised as a vital part of the wider NHS. The range of services they offer is increasing and now includes things like blood pressure and cholesterol testing, medicines reviews, including asthma reviews, and stop smoking services. In addition, we now have 125 community pharmacies registered to provide the urgent or emergency prescription service across all areas of Lancashire and South Cumbria, and a total of 424 who are participating in self-care and health promotion campaigns”.
A number of pharmacies will be open in the local area over the Easter Bank Holiday period. To find your nearest service, call NHS 111 or go to www.nhs.uk