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10 November 2017
Health leaders at Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Luton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are urging local people to use their local Pharmacists to help them stay well this winter.
The advice comes during ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’, which runs from 6-13 November and seeks to highlight the range of services that can be provided in your local pharmacy. Fiona Garnett, Pharmacist and Assistant Director and Head of Medicines Optimisation at Bedfordshire CCG, said:
“Many people think Pharmacists just dispense prescriptions, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They offer free expert advice on a wide range of health issues and can stop you making an unnecessary trip to your GP practice or local A&E department. They are also a great place to have your free NHS Flu Jab, if you are not eligible to receive the vaccine for free, it is still available at a small cost.”
Pharmacists can provide medicines to treat minor health issues such as coughs and colds, sore throats, earache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes, as well as delivering checks on blood pressure, cholesterol and weight management. They also provide advice on how to stop smoking Fiona Garnett added:
“Minor symptoms are better treated at home with medicine from your pharmacy, leaving doctor’s appointments for people with more complicated or serious conditions.
"Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals. They 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.
“During the winter period when colds, coughs and illnesses are common, patients can get advice, treatment and medicines quickly at their local pharmacy without having to wait for a GP appointment. Many pharmacies are open seven days a week and late into the evening. Some pharmacies will also be open during the Christmas and New Year Bank holidays.
“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 and the opportunity to discuss any problems they are having with their medication and ensure they are taking their medicines correctly”.
To find your nearest pharmacy visit www.nhs.uk