Michael Fabricant says: “Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses; and its often worth seeing them, before you go to try and see your doctor.”
In the House of Commons this morning (25th April), Michael raised this issue with the Health Secretary: Steve Barclay.
Michael asked: “Following the excellent television campaign on bowel cancer, which, by the way, got me to take a test, can I now ask that we have a similar campaign to talk about the importance of pharmacists? Because if people consult pharmacists rather than their GPs on occasion, it’ll take away some of the pressure from doctors’ surgeries.”
Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, replied: “He raises a brilliant point, and it is one we are absolutely committed to doing. There is a huge amount of expertise within the pharmacy network, that is why we’re looking at how through technologies such as the NHS App, how we better enable people to get the right care from the right place at the right time. Quite often, that is not necessarily seeing a GP, but it may be seeing others with additional roles in primary care, or going to a pharmacist who can offer those services.”
Michael now says: “I know how difficult it can be on occasion to see your GP so it is worth bearing in mind that some pharmacists have additional qualifications which enable them to prescribe medicines including antibiotics when they are required. The pharmacist will let you know if you need to go and visit a doctor.
“Pharmacists can offer advice and over-the-counter medication to help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries such as: common ailments like coughs, colds and flu; tummy trouble; aches and pains; skin rashes; cystitis; access to the morning after pill; and pregnancy tests.
“They can help manage repeat prescriptions and help with any questions that you might have about medication that you have been prescribed by the doctor. If you’re taking lots of different medicines, they can be reviewed with your pharmacist to help you work out when you should be taking your medication and discuss any questions or side-effects you may have from taking those medicines.
“Pharmacists are a wonderful resource and are often underutilised simply because people are unaware of their training, skills, and other medical services they can offer. In France and other countries, pharmacists are used widely and have an important rôle as an alternative health care professional.”