Trade for prosperity

Your local pharmacy provides a range of support and is a key part of the NHS team

You might be surprised at the range of support available on your doorstep in local pharmacies – from flu vaccinations and help to quit smoking, to sexual health services, NHS medicines consultations and healthy living advice. Community pharmacy is about people, (people like you), not just pills!

Pharmacies treat minor illnesses, help people manage long-term medical conditions, supply medicines and provide urgent care. 

They absorb demand that would otherwise fall onto other parts of the healthcare system, including GPs and A&E. 

There is just so much that your local pharmacies provide. Please make the most of the services on offer. Support your local pharmacy so that they can stay open to support you and the generations to come.

Here are some of the things that make your local pharmacies special: 

Pharmacies provide a range of NHS services, and take pressure off GPs and hospitals. 

Pharmacies are a convenient setting to get help for coughs and sneezes and all manner of other health concerns which don’t necessarily require a GP or hospital appointment. 

Your local pharmacy is one of the few places in the health service where you can simply walk in off the street and get treatment and healthcare professional advice without an appointment. 

The concentration of community pharmacies is higher in deprived areas, meaning that pharmacy-based services can reduce health inequalities between affluent and less well-off areas. 

Conversations with your local pharmacist can help you get the best use from your medicines and minimise your risk of harm. Many people underestimate the risks of taking medicines inappropriately. At least 6% of emergency re-admissions to hospital are caused by avoidable adverse reactions to medicines. 

A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed that just 12 community pharmacy services (not including the core dispensing service) contribute £3 billion of value a year to the NHS and directly to patients. 

Pharmacies perform a vital function in society which is as much about community as it is about healthcare. They should never be taken for granted – use them or lose them.

Like GPs, community pharmacists are part of the NHS family. The traditional role of the community pharmacist as the healthcare professional who dispenses prescriptions written by doctors has changed. Community pharmacists provide clinical services in addition to the traditional dispensing role to allow better  integration and team working with the rest of the NHS.

Your local pharmacy is a key part of the NHS team, aiming to provide seamless NHS care for patients. They: 

 Talk frequently to local GPs

 In some parts of the UK, pharmacists can view shared patient records to maximise patient safety

Refer people to GPs or hospitals if they see danger signs

Your local pharmacy is the NHS on the high street, providing a range of NHS services and support, including urgent care. 

Local doctors may refer you to the pharmacy for advice and treatment for minor ailments such as coughs, colds and tummy aches. In turn, the pharmacist will refer you for a GP or hospital appointment if something needs checking out further. 

The best patient care is usually based on partnership between healthcare professionals, who may work in different settings and have different skill sets, but who come together to provide seamless care for the individual. 

The NHS says it wants to make greater use of community pharmacists’ skills and opportunities to engage patients. So please make the most of your local community pharmacy: proudly part of the NHS family.

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