Let’s make pharmacy the first port of call for minor ailments

Our marketing and sales director, Nigel Swift talks about how LloydsPharmacy is supporting the new national Stay Well Pharmacy campaign and helping to soothe the burden on GPs.

Recently, the US President sparked a backlash after criticising our treasured NHS. It’s not new to hear that our health service is under pressure, but we should be proud of how it continuously strives to face its challenges head on. However, it’s clear that to truly safeguard the future of the NHS, there needs to be fresh thinking right across healthcare.

It is estimated that 57 million GP consultations are made every year are for minor ailments, costing the NHS a total of £2 billion*.  By utilising the skills that our pharmacists’ possess, we can absorb much of this demand, free up GPs’ time and help to reduce unnecessary visits to A&E departments.

That’s why it’s so encouraging to see NHS England and Public Health England launch their ‘Stay Well Pharmacy’ campaign. This initiative aims to increase awareness and understanding of community pharmacy and the services that are available close to home.

Often, there are huge misconceptions that a community pharmacy is just a place to pick up prescriptions, but that’s just one element – pharmacy offers so much more than that. We have dedicated expert teams on hand to improve people’s quality of life, by providing a wide range of advice and support to help them feel better and live healthier lives.

At LloydsPharmacy, we are fully on board with this campaign and I think it represents a step in the right direction by helping to highlight the skills pharmacists have – they are after all, highly trained and the most accessible healthcare professionals.

Conditions such as sore throats, tummy problems and coughs and colds are all easily treated in pharmacy.  By encouraging people to visit their local pharmacist rather than visiting their GP for minor ailments, we hope to increase the public’s trust and confidence in the profession. We want people to think ‘pharmacy first’ and recognise us as the place to go for advice and treatment.

Community pharmacy has always been there to help people in this way, and the new campaign is a great opportunity to demonstrate the skills and competencies of community pharmacy teams and engage with patients who may not otherwise consider their local LloydsPharmacy as the first port of call.

The key to success for initiatives like this is to capture the hearts and minds of the general public. As recognisable healthcare hubs within the community which interact with around 1.2 million people visiting a pharmacy every day, we are ideally placed to spread the word.

Stay Well Pharmacy is a step in the right direction and I’m excited to see what we can achieve as a united sector.

Nigel

*Self Care forum