One in five would use a high-street pharmacy for a minor illness

One in five would use a high-street pharmacy for a minor illness
© shutterstock/Yau Ming Low

Only one in five people aged 18-40 would use their local pharmacy first for expert advice about a minor illness, according to an NHS poll.

Minor illnesses include minor aches, cystitis and colds, and local pharmacies are equipped to help patients with minor health problems. More people are using GP services for minor illnesses, causing backlogs and long waiting times.

An NHS poll has found that only one in five people aged 18-40 would visit their local pharmacy first for expert advice with a minor illness. These findings come alongside the launch of a new NHS campaign to highlight how pharmacies can support patients with non-urgent health advice for minor conditions.

Using pharmacies for minor illness support

The new Help Us Help You adverts will highlight how pharmacists can provide clinical advice, support and over-the-counter medicines for minor illnesses. This is one of several campaigns aimed at educating the public about correctly accessing the most appropriate NHS services when patients are in need.

NHS England has outlined plans to expand the role of community pharmacies, from delivering blood pressure checks to help prevent strokes and for pharmacists to help detect cancer earlier.

Chief pharmaceutical officer, David Webb, said: “Community pharmacies are right in the heart of local communities, and with pharmacists fully trained clinical professionals, they are the perfect place for anybody suffering from a minor illness to get expert advice.

“Pharmacies can offer the convenience of turning up on the day consultations and can help you get any care needed, including over-the-counter medicines. So, whether suffering from a cough, earache, itchy eye, or any other minor illness, popping into your local pharmacy is a great way to nip an issue in the bud before it potentially worsens.”

Public satisfaction with pharmacies is improving

Recent Ipsos polling found high levels of public satisfaction with their local pharmacy, with around nine in ten people reporting they received good advice and felt they were treated with respect.

The latest data shows in November 2022, 91,785 people with a minor illness received a same-day consultation with their local pharmacist after initially calling NHS 111 or their local GP practice, up 39% from 66,039 the same month in 2021.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Pharmacist and YouTuber, Abraham Khadadi said: “I would encourage everyone to make use of their local pharmacy. They are such a convenient way to obtain health advice on minor illnesses, and you can usually just walk in and speak to a pharmacist straight away – you don’t even need an appointment.

“All pharmacists train for four years at university with an additional year on a placement – so you can trust us to give you the advice you need – or signpost you to another health service if necessary.”

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