NHS Scotland pushes ‘pharmacy first’ approach this winter

Written by Tom Freeman on 30 November 2018 in News

People advised to take coughs, colds and repeat prescriptions to pharmacies this winter as part of national campaign

Pharmacy prescriptions - credit Ben W

People with minor illnesses like coughs and colds should visit their local community pharmacy before making an appointment with their GP this winter, NHS Scotland has advised.

Most pharmacists in Scotland have the ability to give out advice and treatment and issue repeat prescriptions, and people are being encouraged to take up the scheme to relieve pressure on GPs, minor injuries clinics and emergency departments.

The advice is being offered as part of the national ‘Be Health-Wise this Winter’ campaign, launched today by health secretary Jeane Freeman.

Community pharmacies are a great place to go to for minor ailments and illnesses, and for health and medicines advice.

"I would urge everyone to begin to plan ahead for winter by making sure you have enough medicines to treat common conditions at home,” she said.

“If you’re not sure what you need then a pharmacy like this one we’re in today can help with advice and can also deal with minor ailments. It is also important to check your GP surgery and pharmacy opening times, which can vary over the holidays."

NHS 24's Head of Pharmacy, John McAnaw, joined the Minister to launch the national campaign.

“NHS 24’s 111 service gets a lot of pharmacy calls and of those taken over the festive period last year, 68 per cent were about repeat prescriptions,” he said.

“Being organised and ordering absolutely only what you need will reduce the chance of you needing to make a call to us, leaving you more time to make the most of the holidays with your family."

The current The NHS Minor Ailment Service is for children, people aged 60 or over, people who hold a medical exemption certificate and people on certain benefits, but the Scottish government plans to roll it out to everyone. This will include giving more pharmacists the ability to prescribe some medicines.

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