Ann urges constituents to Choose Pharmacy for common ailments

Vale of Clwyd AM, Ann Jones is encouraging her constituents to consider visiting a pharmacy for advice on common ailments before booking an appointment with their GP.

The Welsh Government’s new Choose Pharmacy service, which encourages patients in North Wales to consult a participating community pharmacy, rather than their GP for common ailments, has been launched by Health Minister, Mark Drakeford.

An estimated 18% of GP consultations and 8% of attendances at accident and emergency departments are for conditions that could potentially be self-treated. These common ailments are conditions that may require little or no medical intervention, such as constipation, hay fever, coughs and sore throats.

Mrs Jones said: “Community pharmacies play an important in promoting the appropriate and responsible use of NHS services and in supporting people to be able to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. It is important that people are not going to their GP or even A&E for matters which they should be able to deal with themselves.

“Effective treatments for a range of routine ailments are readily available from pharmacies without the need for a prescription or a visit to the GP and pharmacists are trained to deal with common ailments. Pharmacists are very knowledgeable and recommending over-the-counter products or referring patients to other health care professionals is a large part of their job”.

Patients using Choose Pharmacy will be offered consultations with approved pharmacists. Unlike other minor ailment services Choose Pharmacy has been developed so that all advice and treatment will be provided by a pharmacist. This recognises the importance that patients place on the advice and treatment they receive being provided directly by a healthcare professional.

Utilising the unique skills of pharmacists to manage common ailments is critical to encouraging patients to seek advice at their pharmacy rather than their GP and medicines supplied though Choose Pharmacy will be free of charge.