People in the West Midlands who need help from the NHS this Christmas and New Year are being encouraged to visit their local pharmacist for minor conditions.
Pharmacies across the region are open every day of the festive break and people can find their nearest pharmacy online at https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy.
The vital role that pharmacists provide has been highlighted by their contribution to the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pharmacists know their patients and their communities well and they are playing a key role in taking the vaccine out into local areas where people can walk to, find it easier to visit or feel most comfortable.
Many pharmacies are continuing to offer COVID-19 vaccines throughout the Christmas period, some even on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so it’s not too late to come forward and get the vaccine before the New Year. People can get their vaccine by booking online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-COVID-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or by calling 119.
Community pharmacies have experienced a substantial increase in people using the vital services that they provide during the pandemic. They have been supporting the rest of the NHS during the pandemic by offering extra services, introducing changes in their pharmacies, supporting patients with COVID-19 and flu vaccines, and offering support to those struggling with mental health.
Andrew Pickard, Community Pharmacist in Stoke on Trent, said:
“Our staff will be working hard and supporting our local communities over Christmas and New Year. We are happy to help anyone suffering with those minor illnesses that are common at this time of year, like coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy troubles and aches and pains. Community Pharmacists in the West Midlands can also recommend treatments for a range of other conditions.”
From back pain to heart burn to teething, pharmacists can provide free advice and treatment for a range of common conditions for the whole family. As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists provide free expert advice on coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes. They also often offer a wide range of additional services including smoking cessation, blood pressure, cholesterol and Body Mass Index checks.
Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who have undertaken a minimum of five years education and training; they therefore have expert knowledge on prescription and over the counter medicines. By visiting the local pharmacist for advice on how to prevent and treat common illnesses people will be helping to free up GP appointments for people with more complicated or serious conditions, which is especially important over the busy winter period.
Richard Seal, Regional Chief Pharmacist for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said:
“With our 1,289 community pharmacies in the West Midlands, over this festive season don’t forget about this NHS support which is available conveniently and close to home. As clinically qualified healthcare professionals, your community pharmacist can offer confidential advice and help, usually without the need for an appointment.”