A Swindon pharmacist has praised the important work staff do to support patients around the town.

Gurinder Singh splits his time between working in a community pharmacy in the town centre Boots and as a prescribing pharmacist at Ridge Green Medical Centre in West Swindon

People often pop in to sort out a sore throat, buy stop-smoking aids, or book jabs they need before a holiday, and Mr Singh wants to shine a light on the efforts of the team behind the counter.

This comes as part of the national Ask Your Pharmacist Week, which aims to highlight the services offered by healthcare experts.

Gurinder said: "I like to think people trust us because of our place at the heart of the community, as well as our medical knowledge and skills.

“We train for five years before we can qualify, learning about the human body, the use of medicines, and diagnosing common illnesses.

“We undergo continuing professional development so our skills are always up to date.

“Importantly, we know how to spot 'red flag symptoms’ of serious illness and will refer you to a doctor or other health care professional for a check-up or for treatment if necessary.

“Every member of the pharmacy team has undergone regulated training to provide an effective service and keep you safe.”

Pharmacists are supported by trained staff working under their direct supervision, which includes accredited checking technicians who check the accuracy of medicines, dispensing assistants who manage the stock, medicine counter assistants, and technicians who prepare, dispense, and supply medicine.

As well as prescription medicines, urgent care for common illnesses, lifestyle support, and advice for managing long-term conditions, there are new services like blood pressure checks for over-40s and expanded support for people with respiratory conditions and cardiovascular disease.

Gurinder added: “People don’t realise we offer much more than just dispensing prescriptions.

“The next few months are always difficult for the NHS and patients must get the help they need in the right place at the right time.

“Pop into your local pharmacy if you have a health concern.

"Most of the time, we will be able to give you whatever advice and treatment you need, but sometimes we will refer you to a doctor or a nurse for further help.

“We have access to patients’ summary care records, which helps us keep them safe and well.

“For NHS services, convenient access to medicines, support for healthy living, and prompt clinical advice, Ask Your Pharmacist."