There’s far more to your local pharmacy than meets the eye
Help for minor illnesses and minor injuries, as well as information and advice about medicines, is available without an appointment from any one of the many community pharmacies across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.
Overlooked by many as a service just for repeat prescriptions, community pharmacies offer far more than many people realise.
Pharmacists are trained medical professionals and can provide heath information and advice about how to treat minor illnesses, such as sore throats and upset stomachs, and non-urgent injuries, including small burns and insect bites.
Many pharmacies also have private consultation rooms, which provide a confidential space away from the shop floor and patient waiting areas.
Alison Kidner, Pharmacist at Sarum Pharmacy in Salisbury, said: “People are often surprised when they learn that pharmacies do more than just arrange repeat prescriptions.
“Although it’s a big part of our day-to-day work, and helps to keep those who take regular medication healthy and mobile, we do provide many other services, all of which are designed to give people the help they need without delay.
“All of our team are experts in providing advice and information on a range of minor illnesses and injuries, as well as educating people on how best to manage their specific condition at home.
“Of course, there are times when a person needs to be seen elsewhere and we can help to signpost people to the most appropriate service, which not only ensures the person gets the care they need quickly, but also helps to stop unnecessary visits to already-busy GP practices and hospital emergency departments.”
Health and care professionals across the region have in recent weeks seen an increase in people seeking help for conditions such as diarrhoea and vomiting, earache, sore throat, fever and minor skin irritations.
In July and August, hospital emergency departments also saw a surge in attendances from people who had spent too much time in the sun.
In most cases, these conditions could have been safely cared for with a visit to a community pharmacy, and doing so would have helped to reduce the pressure on GP practices, as well as hospital teams looking after those with genuine, life-threatening emergencies.
Health advice and information can also be obtained through the NHS 111 service, as well as via the NHS App, which contains a digital symptom checker, and the NHS website, www.nhs.uk.