Posted by at 25/10/2013 13:05:16
‘Pharmacies can provide much more than just a prescription’ - that’s the message from NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
As part of Ask Your Pharmacist week, which takes place from the 4 to 11 November, NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG is reminding local people that pharmacies can offer a wealth of health support.
This is particularly important at this time of year, when people may need advice on coughs, colds, sore throats, flu, sickness and diarrhoea and other common winter problems.
Dr Richard Browning, NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG’s lead for prescribing, said: “The green cross is the first thing people look for when they are unwell on holiday, but at home they are quite often overlooked.
“Pharmacists are professionals who are qualified to offer health advice and guidance on a whole range of conditions. If people have a quick query about their medication or need some advice on preventing or treating a cold, seeing a pharmacist can be very convenient as you don’t need to arrange an appointment.”
Most pharmacies now have consulting rooms where patients can discuss their problems in private with the pharmacist. Some offer enhanced services such as weight management, emergency contraception, chlamydia screening and anti-coagulation services.
Many pharmacies offer stop smoking, sexual health and alcohol support services. Some staff have also been given Healthy Living training to give motivational advice to patients.
Pharmacists also provide the chance for patients taking new medication to discuss it and make sure they are taking it correctly, as well as annual reviews for regular patients taking two or more tablets.
Sainsbury’s pharmacy, Kingsmead, is open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm Sundays. They offer a number of specialised services, including: medicine use reviews, flu vaccination service and emergency hormonal contraception.
Lindsay Barber, Pharmacy Manager, Sainsbury’s Canterbury, said: “We’re proud that the wide range of services we offer, our convenient location and extended opening hours mean we are able to be a real community resource. All of this, combined with our private consultation room, means we can offer a fantastic level of service which helps alleviate pressure on local GPs at what can be a busy time of year.”
Boots pharmacy, Canterbury Whitefriars Shopping Centre, offer a number of specialised services, including: travel vaccinations and advice, asthma support, hair-retention programme and emergency contraception.
Lucy Turbitt, Pharmacy Manager at Boots, said: “We are open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays. There is no need for an appointment – people can just pop in with their prescription or to ask for health advice.”
The push to use pharmacists comes as the winter season of coughs and colds begins. The best treatment for a cold is to drink fluids, take paracetamol and to stay in bed. Antibiotics don’t work against viral infections such as colds and will not be prescribed by your doctor.