People in the Midlands are being urged to tap into the healthcare expertise available at their local pharmacies, after a new survey revealed that 35% of those in the region incorrectly think the flu jab can give them flu.
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) study also shows that while many people are embracing the public health role of pharmacies, some topics are perceived as off-limits.
The results of the survey are being published today (NOV 6), to mark the beginning of Ask Your Pharmacist Week, and reveal that in the Midlands:
- 57% of people understand that pharmacies offer health promoting services like blood pressure checks, flu jabs and help to give up smoking
- 50% understand that they can ask their pharmacist about reducing heart attack or stroke risks, but only 26% think it is OK to ask in a pharmacy about reducing cancer risks
- just 12% of people know that most pharmacies have consultation rooms, where they can talk to the pharmacist without being overheard
The results are broadly in line with the national average.
Pharmacist, Nitin Sodha, managing director of Knights pharmacies and a NPA board member representing the Midlands, is backing Ask Your Pharmacist week.
He said: “Most people know that pharmacists are experts on medicine, but many don’t know about the other services we can provide.
“We can treat common ailments, give advice on maintaining and improving your health and offer a range of NHS services, without the need for an appointment.
“Come in and talk to us, you might be surprised at the level of expertise on your high street.”
NPA chairman and pharmacist, Ian Strachan, said: “People are starting to understand that pharmacists are highly qualified clinicians.
“The public is getting accustomed to certain ‘new’ pharmacy services, such as flu vaccinations on the NHS, and they understand that pharmacies have a role in supporting healthier lifestyles.
“Yet they need to be reassured that nothing is off limits in terms of what you can ask your pharmacist about your medicines, your health or your general wellbeing.
“We want people to feel that it’s perfectly acceptable to talk with the pharmacy team about cancer, sexual health and many other topics they might have thought were are out of bounds.”
Hundreds of independent pharmacies will be holding ‘Discover Your Local Pharmacy’ open days in and around AYP Week, using campaign packs supplied by the NPA.
People can find out more about services available at their local pharmacies by visiting discoverpharmacy.co.uk.