Swindon AdvertiserPeople urged to think again before trip to doctor (From Swindon Advertiser)

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People urged to think again before trip to doctor

Swindon Advertiser: Great Western hospital NHS Foundation Trust's campaign to reduce waiting times Great Western hospital NHS Foundation Trust's campaign to reduce waiting times

PEOPLE in Swindon are being urged to approach their local pharmacy with medical concerns as part of The Earlier, The Better campaign.

The national initiative aims to highlight the benefits of visiting a pharmacy at the first sign of ill health for guidance before rushing to the emergency department, as so many people still do.

Unknown to many, pharmacies are well placed to give residents medical advice on a range of minor conditions and often have longer opening hours than the average GP practice.

The campaign also sets out to encourage patients to check symptoms sooner rather than later at a pharmacy in a bid to nip health problems in the bud before they worsen – especially throughout the winter months when people are more likely to become ill.

They can also give free flu jabs to people over 65 or people at high risk of contracting the virus.

Adam James, a pharmacist at Old Town Pharmacy in the Co-op supermarket, said: “Once people work out for themselves or hear that their pharmacy can provide treatments and advice for simple conditions, that’s something they return to again and again and don’t bother going to their GP about,” he said.

“People don’t always need to see somebody by appointment; they can just come here and have a chat with us.

“We can help to suppress a cough before their throat becomes irritated and they have to visit their GP or help them get rid of it before it develops into a chest infection.

“As part of our pharmacy training degree we learn to recognise and differentiate between treatable symptoms and something more urgent.

“Coughs for instance are something we can deal with, with a high degree of certainty.

“If symptoms send alarm bells ringing we can refer people to their GP. It’s just more convenient to go to the pharmacy on some occasions.”

The campaign comes amid efforts by the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to reduce waiting times at its accident and emergency department by highlighting alternatives for people suffering from minor ailments.

While many see the emergency unit as their first port of call with any medical problems outside of their GP’s opening hours, a simple trip to the pharmacy could see them treated adequately and more swiftly.

Julie McCann, assistant director for pharmacy at NHS England (Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon & Wiltshire) said: “You can seek advice for minor health problems sooner rather than later, by consulting your local pharmacist.

“Pharmacists and their teams offer expert advice and you won’t need to make an appointment – many are open from first thing in the morning until late in the evening.

“Pharmacists also offer health checks and advice on how to manage long term conditions.”

Comments (6)

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7:54am Thu 27 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

the few occasions I have approached a pharmacist they have told me to go and see my doctor.
the few occasions I have approached a pharmacist they have told me to go and see my doctor. house on the hill
  • Score: 8

9:37am Thu 27 Feb 14

Hmmmf says...

My GP's surgery is open for a piddling 25 hours a week (and closed on weekends, obviously). Perhaps if they stayed open longer and the quacks made house-calls out of hours, those people the NHS claim are 'clogging up A&E' would have access to 'best in the world' services without having to wait a week for an appointment. Still, at least I wasn't one of the 2000 patients turfed out of the Marlborough Road Surgery, there'll be a long queue outside Boots in Old Town until that's resolved.
My GP's surgery is open for a piddling 25 hours a week (and closed on weekends, obviously). Perhaps if they stayed open longer and the quacks made house-calls out of hours, those people the NHS claim are 'clogging up A&E' would have access to 'best in the world' services without having to wait a week for an appointment. Still, at least I wasn't one of the 2000 patients turfed out of the Marlborough Road Surgery, there'll be a long queue outside Boots in Old Town until that's resolved. Hmmmf
  • Score: 8

7:58pm Thu 27 Feb 14

fuzzey says...

I was not aware the over 65 s could get the flue vaccines free at the pharmacy ??would think this is a mistake and will come as a surprise to all those paying for it in boots for years .
I was not aware the over 65 s could get the flue vaccines free at the pharmacy ??would think this is a mistake and will come as a surprise to all those paying for it in boots for years . fuzzey
  • Score: 2

8:28pm Thu 27 Feb 14

easternsideoftown says...

I don't understand how a random pharmacist who doesn't have your clinical record can diagnose, .... I guess the way forward for them to ensure no litigation is ' go see your GP'. So no change.
I don't understand how a random pharmacist who doesn't have your clinical record can diagnose, .... I guess the way forward for them to ensure no litigation is ' go see your GP'. So no change. easternsideoftown
  • Score: 2

2:16pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Squeeble says...

I needed treatment on Tuesday afternoon (the dressing on the back of my neck had fallen off and I was bleeding) so went to my local pharmacy to ask if they could help. Their response was a resounding NO. The reason? Insurance. Apparently, they can give general advice but cannot actually help when it is needed. My doctors surgery was closed at the time (it is closed every Tuesday afternoon) so I could not even ask them for help. I pointed this out, and the pharmacist still refused to help. I physically cannot see behind my own neck (unsurprisingly!) and said to them that I will take full responsibility, I will open the dressing, I will put it on my neck, but I need them to guide my hand as I cannot see what I am doing. Still nothing. TBH I am disgusted how they can leave someone bleeding, and not have any compassion to help.
I needed treatment on Tuesday afternoon (the dressing on the back of my neck had fallen off and I was bleeding) so went to my local pharmacy to ask if they could help. Their response was a resounding NO. The reason? Insurance. Apparently, they can give general advice but cannot actually help when it is needed. My doctors surgery was closed at the time (it is closed every Tuesday afternoon) so I could not even ask them for help. I pointed this out, and the pharmacist still refused to help. I physically cannot see behind my own neck (unsurprisingly!) and said to them that I will take full responsibility, I will open the dressing, I will put it on my neck, but I need them to guide my hand as I cannot see what I am doing. Still nothing. TBH I am disgusted how they can leave someone bleeding, and not have any compassion to help. Squeeble
  • Score: 3

10:54am Sat 1 Mar 14

fuzzey says...

Would any pharmacy that provides the flue vaccine as stated for the over 65s and people at high risk please be kind enough to respond either on line or in the advertiser ? the one that i approached on Friday for confirmation could not have cared less saying flue season over .nevertheless i will be back paying again in boots in early October appreciate any input to clarify the situation .??
Would any pharmacy that provides the flue vaccine as stated for the over 65s and people at high risk please be kind enough to respond either on line or in the advertiser ? the one that i approached on Friday for confirmation could not have cared less saying flue season over .nevertheless i will be back paying again in boots in early October appreciate any input to clarify the situation .?? fuzzey
  • Score: 1

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