Men need a reason to visit us before we can help

Ajit Malhi, head of pharmacy affairs for Celesio UK, gives his backing to the NPA’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week and urges fellow pharmacists to give men a good reason to visit us.

It appears we are still struggling to convince the men of the UK that they should seek medical advice when it is required.

And, while we discuss ways in which we can engage with men, it may be worth considering first how we get them to come in.

The NPA’s recent survey acted as the perfect backdrop to this year’s theme for its Ask Your Pharmacist Week – ‘Engaging Men’. Once again it highlighted some startling facts; such as 90 per cent of males will not trouble a GP or pharmacist unless they have a serious problem.

Often it seems men will not even visit a pharmacist to collect a prescription. They leave it to their partner – which makes it even trickier to interact with them.

If we want to see more men coming through our shop doors then there are a couple of things that I think we could be doing with more efficiency.

Firstly, speak to their wives or girlfriends. Get them to do the ‘persuading’ or even demonstrate how their partners can use on-line interactive sites like Dr Thom or allabouthealth.org.uk.

Secondly, I think we can make our pharmacies look a little more man-friendly. Create a section dedicated to them with the products that they want and the literature that they read.

I know it’s been referred to as ‘racks of makeup and no spanners’ by Dr Ian banks in the past and he has a point.

There are many ways to market our services but we have to think smart when it comes to persuading an audience that has traditionally closed its ears to medical and healthcare advice.