BUXTON patients are being encouraged to get expert help and advice from their pharmacist on minor illnesses to save long waits in A&E.
Health bosses from NHS Derbyshire are reminding patients that many pharmacies are open seven days a week, and in the evenings, and are trained to give advice on medicines and a range of other essential health services.
Pauline Eastwood, primary care commissioning manager at NHS Derbyshire, said: “Pharmacies offer a huge range of services and products – from treatments for coughs, colds, stomach upsets, allergies and skin conditions, holiday health care to stop smoking, weight control and counselling advice.
“But many people, especially over the winter months, don’t realise that their pharmacist can help, and automatically book an appointment with their GP or visit A&E which puts unnecessary additional pressure on health services.”
Other services provided at pharmacies include free NHS Medicines Use Reviews and private face-to-face medicine check-ups for people with long term illnesses such as asthma and diabetes. Pharmacies also provide nicotine patches and drugs for smokers wanting to quit, offer three-month support programmes for quitters and give confidential contraceptive and pregnancy advice.
The ‘New Medicines Service’ is another free NHS service pharmacists provide where pharmacists give vital advice to patients who have a newly prescribed medicine for certain long term illnesses – this guidance is of particular benefit to patients who have been in hospital and come out with newly prescribed medicines.
Statistics show that nationally 8 per cent of people attending A&E could have been treated at their local pharmacist – saving time and money.