Health advice on the high street
Thursday 21st November
If you think you know what your pharmacist can do for you, think again. You might be missing out on their valuable expertise.
Pharmacists are able to provide a lot more than just selling us over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol and cough medicine. Many people don’t realise they study for four years and then undertake a year’s pre-registration before becoming fully qualified, making them an excellent high-street resource for health queries and advice.
With no appointments, extended opening hours and instant advice they provide a one-stop shop for health advice, but many of us do not even realise how much they can provide.
What’s on offer?
If you take medications on a regular basis, ask your local pharmacy about repeat prescriptions – most run a service whereby they will collect prescriptions from your GP, prepare and have it waiting ready for you to pick up – some even deliver to your home or workplace, saving you valuable time and often the inconvenience of going to two places. You just have to complete a simple form to get started.
Some pharmacies offer a medicine usage review; a one-to-one chat about the medications you’re taking, considering everything from whether you’re taking it regularly, taking the correct dosage to any side effects you may be experiencing. Your pharmacist can give you advice on the best time of day to take medications, and offer tips to reduce side effects, for example, taking medication straight after food. They can advise on safe medications for children, and securely dispose of any unwanted medication for you.
You can generally walk in to your pharmacy and confidentially ask for advice about minor ailments, such as verrucas, coughs and colds, upset stomachs or mouth ulcers. This will free up your GP’s time for more urgent cases, and prevent you waiting for an appointment, getting you feeling well again sooner.
Other services can include checks for other health issues, such as diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. Your pharmacy may also offer stop smoking and weight loss services that you can take advantage of. If you don’t pay for your prescriptions, then some or all of these services may be free.