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Can seeing a pharmacist be better than seeing a doctor?

Pharmacists can do more than you think and in some situations they might save you a trip to the doctors.

A pharmacy

Pharmacists can do more than you think and in some situations they might save you a trip to the doctors.

by Jennifer Green

We all know that waiting for an appointment to see your GP you can be frustrating when you are ill.

So could a visit to your pharmacy be a better option?

If you have a minor health concern you can go to your pharmacist for treatment. Examples of minor health concerns are sore throats, coughs, colds, teething, tummy troubles and general aches and pains.

At the moment only 6% of parents or carers of children aged 5 and under say they would go to a pharmacist for a minor health concern. 35% said they would choose to contact a GP and 5% would choose emergency care as their first point of call.

New research shows that 27% of GP appointments are actually avoidable. This equates to between 15 and 20 million appointments per year in England. For many of these avoidable appointments, patients could have gone to their local pharmacy for advice and support. They wouldn’t have had to book an appointment, they could have seen their pharmacist on an evening or weekend. And they wouldn’t have had to travel as far.

Because of this, NHS England have launched a new campaign called ‘Stay Well Pharmacy.’ The campaign aim is to encourage people to visit their local pharmacy first for minor health concerns.

Pharmacies in Telford are within easy reach of most of us, so it is easy to find a pharmacy near you. They often open late into the evenings and at weekends and can offer fast and convenient medical advice with no appointment needed.

Every pharmacist is a qualified healthcare professional trained in managing minor illnesses. They can provide simple medical advice, and talk to you about how you can treat your problem with over-the-counter remedies.

If it looks like your health concern is something more serious, they have the training to ensure you get the help you need. They can help you understand whether it is worth you booking a GP appointment or if you could go somewhere else for help, like the Healthy Lifestyles Service.

If you want to have some privacy when you go to a pharmacy, most now offer a private consultation room suitable for a confidential conversation.

Using a pharmacy for these health concerns has the added benefit of freeing up GP time for more complex health issues, and reduces non-emergency A&E visits.

Would you rather visit the pharmacist or the doctor?

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

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