A campaign has been launched to remind people that – for minor ailments – it’s often better to visit your local pharmacy than your overstretched GP or A&E department.
There are 126 pharmacies in County Durham, whose knowledgeable staff can provide advice on a wide range of medical matters.
As well as treating minor ailments, pharmacists can give guidance on issues such as stopping smoking and accessing support for drug misuse problems.
Many pharmacies also contain rooms where people can have private consultations.
The Pharmacy Is for Everyone campaign aims to highlight the expertise of pharmacists and to encourage people to approach their local pharmacist for guidance on less serious medical concerns.
Pharmacists can play an important role in relieving pressure on NHS services. A public consultation by Healthwatch County Durham recently found that the county’s residents expressed a high degree of satisfaction with their pharmacists but lacked awareness of the services pharmacies offer.
The Pharmacy is for Everyone campaign will use advertising within pharmacies and social media posts to increase the public’s knowledge about what the local pharmacy can provide.
The campaign was recently launched at West Rainton’s Storehouse Pharmacy, which won first prize in the ‘North East Pharmacy of the Year’ category at the English Independent Retail Awards.
Durham County Council’s cabinet member for adult and health services, Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, said, “We are really pleased to support the Pharmacy Is for Everyone campaign, as by promoting the role of pharmacies more widely we will make more people aware of the services they provide.”
“This will not only help reduce the pressure on GPs and other parts of the NHS, but it will allow patients with minor ailments to receive the treatment or medicine they need more quickly and access the numerous pharmacy services that aim to improve the health of the local community.”
“Pharmacists train for five years and are experts in medicine. They work within the community and can provide advice and services at a time to suit patients. That’s why your local pharmacy really should be your first port of call.”
Tom Grey, of Storehouse Pharmacy, said: “We were surprised but absolutely delighted to win the North East Pharmacy of the Year award. What makes the award so special is that we were nominated by one of our customers.”
“It is also why we are so keen to support the Pharmacy for Everyone campaign. It is important we make people aware of the services pharmacies like ours provide to the community, allowing our expert pharmacists to help even more people.”
To find out more about what your local pharmacy can do, please go to http://www.durhamlpc.org.uk/.
(This article’s featured image shows Cllr Lucy Hovvels with the team at Storehouse Pharmacy.)