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Ask Your Pharmacist Week (or any week)!

No health topic is off limits in your local pharmacy.

People in East Anglia are being urged to tap into the healthcare expertise available at their local pharmacies, after a new survey revealed that 43% of people 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 East Anglia region:

57% of people correctly think it is appropriate to ask the local pharmacist for a blood pressure check, a flu jab or help to give up smoking

just 29% think it is appropriate to ask about reducing heart attack or stroke risks and only 11% think it is appropriate to ask in a pharmacy about reducing cancer risks

only 1 in 10 people know that most pharmacies have consultation rooms, where they can talk to the pharmacist without being overheard

The East Anglia results are broadly in line with the national average.

Pharmacist, Bharat Patel, who owns the Elora Pharmacy, Benfleet, and Yardley Chemist, Rayleigh, both Essex, is backing Ask Your Pharmacist Week.

Mr Patel, who is also the NPA board member for East Anglia, 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.

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