People in Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to make the most of their local pharmacist this winter for common health complaints to help doctors and Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments spend more time with seriously ill patients.
Common symptoms are better treated at home with medicine from your pharmacy, leaving doctor’s appointments for people with more complicated or serious conditions.
The three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the area are reminding people that pharmacists do much more than just dispensing prescriptions. They offer free expert advice on a wide range of health issues, support for self-care and medicines to treat common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.
Warwickshire pharmacist Sareen Sadiqsaid: “One in four people unnecessarily visit their GP or A&E as a first port of call when suffering from flu. Pharmacists can provide on the spot help and advice on minor ailments. During the winter period where 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 or going to A&E. Many pharmacies are open seven days a week and late into the evening.”
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, discuss any problems they are having with their medication and ensure they are taking their medicines correctly.
There are a number of services who can help in treating minor illnesses and ailments, if you do feel under the weather remember help is at hand, whether that be calling NHS 111, getting early advice from your local pharmacist, speaking with your own GP or visiting a walk-in centre. You can also go online and visit www.nhs.uk/asap
Pharmacist Sareen is shown holding an NHS Feeling Under the Weather booklet, a guide to keeping well, being prepared and getting the right treatment this winter. The booklet is available in pharmacies, GP surgeries, libraries and hospitals.