Cheryl Clennett, Clinical Lead for Community Pharmacy at NHS Kent and Medway, said: “Pharmacies are at the heart of local communities and many people are oblivious to the array of services they offer. Pharmacists are highly skilled healthcare professionals who can provide expert and confidential advice, treatment and support for self-care. They can make sure you can look after yourself and your family for minor illnesses and ailments such as aches and pains, coughs and colds, allergies and skin conditions.
“By talking to your pharmacist instead of going to your GP surgery or A&E, you will be seen quickly and will keep other NHS services available for people with serious conditions.”
Pharmacies are about much more than just medicines. They can empower and support people to self-care, which helps them better manage their long-term conditions or minor ailments, as well as offer health checks and screening services.
People who regularly take more than one prescription medicine or take medicines for long-term illnesses like asthma, arthritis or diabetes can ask their pharmacist for a medicines use review. This ensures patients are taking the correct medicines, identifies any problems they are having and makes sure they get the most out of their medication.
Pharmacies will soon be providing healthier lifestyle support after Kent and Medway were named national pathfinders for Healthy Living Pharmacies. Pharmacies will be selected to provide specialist in-store expertise for issues such as alcohol consumption, weight loss and sexual health from March 2012.
Helen Morley, a pharmacist at Boots in Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, said: “People are often surprised about the range of services their pharmacist can provide. We do much more than just dispense prescriptions, we have the time and the expertise to help patients on a range of issues, from stop smoking services , health checks and minor ailments.“
Ask your pharmacist for more details on the services they offer. To find your nearest pharmacy visit www.nhs.uk or call 0845 46 47.