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Ask your pharmacist

30 October 2012

Next week (5-12 November) is ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ week, and the NHS across Bedfordshire and Luton is using the opportunity to encourage more people to make the most of their local chemist.

Many people don’t realise the wide range of additional services available from their local pharmacist.  Pharmacists do so much more than dispensing prescriptions.  They offer free expert advice on a wide range of health issues, support for self care and medicines to treat common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.

Andy Cooke, Head of Medicines Management for Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who have undertaken five years of education and training for this specialist role and therefore have expert knowledge on prescription and over the counter medicines.  They also have the skills and expertise to help on a range of health issues including helping people to stop smoking, offering advice on healthy eating and losing weight, and testing for chlamydia”.

“Patients who take regular prescription medicines can also ask their pharmacist for a medicines use review.  This free NHS service helps to give patients a better understanding of the medicines they are taking, discuss any problems they are having with their medication and ensure they are taking their medicines correctly”.

“Why not call into your local pharmacy to find out more about what they do and what they can offer”.
Patients who are prescribed a medicine to treat a long-term condition for the first time, are able to get extra help and advice about their medicine from their local pharmacist through a new free scheme called the New Medicine Service (NMS). People often have problems when they start a new medicine. In this scheme the pharmacist will support patients over several weeks to use the medicine safely and to best effect.
Most pharmacies have a private consulting room so you can talk to your pharmacist in complete confidence.

There are 68 pharmacies across Bedfordshire and many are open late and at weekends.  You can see your pharmacist without the need for an appointment.

To find your nearest pharmacy go to www.nhs.uk or text ‘pharmacy’ to 64747 for free details.

Information about the wide range of services offered by your local pharmacist can also found on the NHS Bedfordshire and Luton website at www.bedfordshireandluton.nhs.uk

Notes to editors

The New Medicine Service is available to people who have been prescribed a new medicine for the following conditions:
• asthma
• chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• type 2 diabetes
• high blood pressure, or
• have been given a new blood-thinning medicine

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is a new organisation, run and led by GPs and other local clinicians, that has been created to take over responsibility for commissioning healthcare from NHS Bedfordshire primary care trust in 2013. BCCG, which comprises the 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire, will have a budget of more than £400m to plan and buy healthcare services for the 430,000 people who live in Bedfordshire.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact the NHS Bedfordshire and Luton press office on 01234 897208.

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