Ask Your Pharmacy week launches in Sefton

Pharmacists in Sefton’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are reminding residents about the range of services available in local chemists for those who need it, and encouraging them to make appropriate use of NHS services during Ask Your Pharmacist Week (7-14 November).

The week compliments 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 heating.

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.

NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG have made this easier with their Care at the Chemist scheme, providing expert advice and medications for a wide range of conditions, without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

Susanne Lynch, the CCGs’ head of medicines management, reminds those who need it to use the service available at the chemist, she says: “Your local pharmacist is a good point of contact for advice on many common health concerns. While most people will go first to their pharmacist for medicines advice, many don’t know about the range of other healthcare services provided by pharmacies on their doorstep and the level of expertise there.

“Pharmacists are available without appointment and are able to deal with a wide range of ailments, offer advice on self care and offer uniquely accessible advice on maintaining and improving your health.”

Activities are planned across the country during Ask Your Pharmacist Week including health checks in shopping centres, community talks, chemist window displays and visits to chemists by local dignitaries.

Anyone of any age who is registered with a Sefton GP can access the Care at the Chemist scheme via a community pharmacy. Simply call into your chemist and ask to be registered onto the scheme.

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