Why not ask your pharmacist?

Health experts in Sefton are reminding residents to ask their pharmacist about the range of services available in local chemists during a week long campaign, running from 6 to 12 November, and beyond.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ week, which highlights the range of services and support that is available to people from their local chemist.

Ask Your Pharmacist complements the national Stay Well This Winter campaign, encouraging people to look after themselves during the winter months – reminding them to see a pharmacist if they need advice on managing cough or cold symptoms; and for older people, a reminder to keep warm during the winter months by putting on an extra layer or turning up their heat.

Often, people make unnecessary trips to the GP or even A&E, when their neighbourhood chemist could help instead. In recent years, pharmacists have expanded their role, and now provide a wide range of clinical and public health services, within easy reach of the people who need them most. However, whilst most people go first to their chemist for medicines and medicines advice, many don’t know about the range of other healthcare services on offer in chemists.

Sarah Halpin, a pharmacist at Alexander’s Pharmacy in Crosby, said: "Your local pharmacist is often the best place to go when you have a concern or question about a minor ailment. We can advise you on a number of conditions including aches and pains, sore throats, coughs, colds, flu, earache, cystitis, skin rashes and more.

“Your local pharmacy can help you look after your own and your family’s health by offering advice on healthy eating, physical activity, losing weight and stopping smoking.

“The best part about seeking advice from your pharmacist is that you don’t need to book an appointment, and many pharmacies are open longer hours than some GP surgeries.

Another way to make the most of your local pharmacist is by signing up to NHS South Sefton CCG’s Care at the Chemist scheme, which is aimed at more vulnerable residents who do not normally pay for their prescriptions. Care at the Chemist is available at a number of pharmacies across the borough and provides expert advice and medications for a wide range of conditions, without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

Susanne Lynch, the CCG's head of medicines management, said: “If you are one of our more vulnerable residents and you do not normally pay for your prescription, then Care at the Chemist is a great way for you to be seen by a health professional, who can advise on treatment for a number of ailments and offer medication where appropriate.

For a list of pharmacies signed up to the Care at the Chemist scheme and how to register, visit our Care at the Chemist page.  

For more information about the Stay Well This Winter campaign please see: www.nhs.uk/staywell

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