Parents urged to ask chemist for advice first - The Evesham Observer

Parents urged to ask chemist for advice first

Evesham Editorial 22nd Feb, 2018   0

A MAJOR health campaign has been launched to encourage parents across the West Midlands to take their children to pharmacists first for minor injuries, rather than the GP or A&E.

The drive has been launched by NHS England which says millions of parents across the country could get more convenient and timely expert advice by seeking advice from their local pharmacist. And bosses say the move would also ease pressure on GP surgeries and had the potential to save the NHS £850million-a-year.

Research shows just nine per cent of mums and dads in the West Midlands would consider the pharmacist, while 35 per cent would opt for an appointment with their GP and two per cent would head to A&E as their first port of call.

It contrasts dramatically adults where 76 per cent in the region said they were aware pharmacists were qualified healthcare professionals who could give advice on the most common illnesses and say when and where it would be better to go for more serious conditions.

Statistics show around 18million GP appointments and 2.1million visits to A&E are for self-treatable conditions, such as coughs and tummy troubles, at a cost of more than £850million each year to the NHS. That cash could fund more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations.

Dr David Levy, Medical Director for NHS England Midlands and East, said local pharmacies were so much more than just a place to collect your prescriptions.

“A pharmacist is qualified to advise you on the kind of minor illnesses which are particularly common at this time of year, and the great thing is you don’t need to book an appointment.”

He added it may see parents getting advice about how to manage their child’s illness at home, the suggestion of over-the-counter medication to help ease symptoms, or recommending a GP appointment be booked if it is something more serious.

“It can sometimes be difficult to know the best thing to do when your child is ill. Consideration should be given to making the pharmacy your first stop, taking away the guesswork and is a great habit to get into.”

The calls have been made, in particular, to the 5million parents of children under five years old and the campaign is being backed by respected parental advice and information website Netmums.

Annie O’Leary, Editor in Chief at Netmums, said the organisation was committed to raising awareness of the best way parents could keep their little ones well.

“Pharmacists are highly trained NHS health professionals who are able to offer clinical advice for a wide range of minor health concerns, right there and then.”

And she added, as well as clinical advice, they could offer reassurance that it is nothing more serious.

Visit for more information, including locations of local pharmacies.

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