'Pharmacy first' campaign for poorly kids
12th February 2018 – Parents who have a child with a minor illness should consider asking their local pharmacist for advice instead of automatically booking an appointment with a GP, the NHS is urging.
It says pharmacists can offer more convenient and timely help for minor concerns such as coughs, colds, tummy problems or teething, and aches and pains.
NHS England is launching a national Stay Well Pharmacy campaign to increase the use of pharmacy services and encourage self-care treatment for minor problems. It wants to remind people that pharmacists are trained healthcare professionals who can be trusted to give advice instead of a GP.
Research has shown that 27% of GP appointments could have been avoided. This equates to between 15 million and 20 million appointments in England.
There are also 2.1 million visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments each year for self-treatable conditions. Together, these cost the NHS over £850 million per year.
Health officials say using a pharmacy for minor health concerns will ease pressure on the health system, which has been under severe strain this winter.
Pharmacists 'are health professionals'
Dr Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for England says in a statement: "Pharmacists are highly trained NHS health professionals who are able to offer clinical advice and effective treatments for a wide range of minor health concerns right there and then. They can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own with a few days' rest.
"However, if symptoms suggest it's something more serious, they have the right clinical training to ensure people get the help they need. We want to help the public get the most effective use of these skilled clinicians who are available every day of the week."