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Over 51 million GP appointments could be avoided

Health leaders believe more than 51 million people a year who visit their GP with minor illnesses and ailments could either care for themselves or visiting their local high-street pharmacy for help.

Pharmacy staff are working with NHS teams to encourage people from [add in area] to use their local pharmacy for advice and treatment for conditions such as stomach upsets, coughs and colds and aches and pains.

Dr Mike Cheshire, medical director at NHS North West said: "There is a lot of public education still to be done so that people fully understand the role that community pharmacists can play in their care.  Pharmacy staff really are your local high-street experts on a range of conditions."

 

The new campaign promoted through pharmacy stores focuses on 'Two massive reasons' to choose your local pharmacy.  It aims to highlight the reasons to use your high-street pharmacy in the first instance if you need health advice and supports the NHS Choose Well campaign.

Vic Standing is pharmaceutical advisor for the North West and added: "Your local pharmacists can give you expert, confidential advice and treatment for minor complaints, to avoid unnecessary visits to your GP and A&E.

"Having a few basic essentials in your cupboard can help to treat the symptoms for many common illnesses such as coughs and colds.  Paracetamol and Ibuprofen for example can help with pain relief for anything from back-ache, to a sprained knee or stomach ache and can help to reduce a high-temperature.  Pharmacy staff really are your local experts on this."

Richard Wood, who is North West Development Pharmacist for ASDA said, "We see ourselves as part of the NHS team. We can do so much more these days that just give our prescriptions.  Pharmacists are highly-qualified, with in-depth knowledge about prescription an over-the-counter medicines.  Most high-street chemists have a confidential consulting room and we know about other local NHS services such as Walk-in Centres and Urgent Care Centres".