As the NHS turns 70 this year, we are reminded of its value and omnipotence. The media coverage has been very kind and
In today’s busy yet extensively connected world, patients and health consumers are looking for convenient and swift ways to access shopping, entertainment, news and HEALTH advice to name but a few. A generation which is time poor will seek to fast track access to their wellbeing.
Enter community pharmacy with all that it has to offer.
Open late,high street pharmacies are staffed by highly qualified healthcare professionals and counter assistants. This make it easy to resolve most minor ailments within minutes, saving you time and the croaking NHS money. Win Win!
Most community pharmacies are very mindful of their local population’s needs and cater to their local demographic. Their local knowledge and attention to detail allows them to attend to patients’ needs in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. To this end pharmacy products tend to be ingredient focused with strong claims in keeping with a pharmacist’s clinical credentials.
It was recently reported in The Pharmacist magazine that pharmacies should be the first port of call for parents of children with minor illnesses. This is following a new public health campaign launched by NHS England. The Stay Well campaign- launched February 2018- is aimed at freeing up of the 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million trips made to A&E for self-treatable conditions such as coughs and tummy troubles.
Your local pharmacist is a highly trained NHS health professional who is able to offer clinical advice for a wide range of minor health concerns, right there and then. A diagnosis can be made there and then and the patient can either be treated by self-care or by recommending a product sold in the pharmacy. In most cases the advice will involve reassurance that it is nothing more serious if the condition is self-limiting and conversely a patient will be referred to the right professional be it a GP, an urgent care centre doctor or A&E.
THE FIRST WEALTH IS HEALTH- Ralph Waldo Emerson
By Hala Abusin- Community pharmacist/Content curator
11th June 2018- 4 mins read
Pharmacists are key members of your healthcare team and their accessibility and knowledge place them in the top three healthcare providers within the NHS.
Many patients and health consumers use their local pharmacy to get their prescriptions dispensed and to purchase over the counter medicines to treat minor illnesses such as coughs, colds and allergies. But did you know that your local pharmacist is well-trained to provide much more than that?
1- Ask your pharmacist to review your current medication and advise on new medicines introduced after you’ve recently been diagnosed with a condition or had a change of treatment. It is not always possible to remember all the questions you would like to ask your GP or hospital doctor about your medicines and this is where your community pharmacist comes in.
You can receive comprehensive advice on how and when to take your medicines, what they are for, possible side-effects and how they affect other treatments taken over the counter.
2- Your community pharmacy has a wealth of information about other healthcare professionals operating locally and you can easily obtain contact names and numbers of GP surgeries, nurses, hospitals and out-of-hours services. In certain cases, pharmacists can provide emergency supplies of a patient’s medicine providing certain criteria are met. There may be a charge requested to complete this supply.
3- Another way your qualified pharmacy staff can help is by providing tips and tools to remember how and when to take your medicines. Whether it is morning doses, lunchtime or evening doses, you can expect to receive tips on setting up reminders and prompts to alert you to dose times.
4- It is often challenging to order your prescriptions in time to be received at your chosen pharmacy before you run out and this can be frustrating. Remember most GP surgeries ask that you give at least two working days’ notice to issue a prescription to be forwarded to your pharmacy and in some cases this can be done via the pharmacy (check this is the case where you are registered)
5- If you take a number of medicines for your condition(s) then you can ask your pharmacist to contact your GP to match up the quantities of your medicines and report your concerns or comments back to the GP (with your consent)
6- Most community pharmacies operate an NHS service called the Minor Ailments Scheme. This services is open to all eligible NHS registered patients who are exempt from paying prescription charges and can obtain a wide selection of treatments for conditions ranging from coughs and colds, fever, hayfever, dry skin, head lice, eye infections, teething and fungal infections to name but a few. Ask your surgery or your pharmacy staff for details.
7- Most high street community pharmacies have a special consultation room where you can discuss any concerns whether private or embarrassing with your trusted pharmacist. These matters remain highly confidential and will be treated respectfully and in line with your right to privacy and protected under general data protection regulations (GDPR)
8- Healthy living advice and self-care are undoubtedly the best tools to prevent and manage long term conditions and prevent further complications. In community pharmacy, staff are highly trained and well equipped to provide you with detailed explanations on how to stay well using information leaflets, in-house displays of health advice and local/national campaigns to prevent disease complications.
9- Another highly specialised service operating in certain approved pharmacies can prove invaluable to a certain group of patients and health consumers. Following a short consultation with an accredited pharmacist some patients may be eligible to receive medicines such as the emergency contraceptive pill, oral contraception, anti-malaria treatment, hair loss, weight loss, period delay and weight loss to name but a few. These services are privately run by pharmacies so there is a charge to be paid but useful in cases where a GP appointment is not always possible to book or if the patient is not registered with an NHS GP. However other services such as flu vaccination and the stop smoking initiative may be offered free of charge to eligible patients. Ask for details at your local community pharmacy.
In today’s much connected and digitised world, community pharmacy is moving with the times to provide access to a wealth of information and health tips to keep well and to prove the profession’s worthiness of being a pivotal part of the NHS.