Patients are still failing to use community pharmacy as their first point of call…

New research from the PAGB shows that people are still visiting a doctor instead of a pharmacist for self-treatable conditions.

It shows that a third of people (32%) visit the doctor for seasonal conditions like sore throats, with some even exaggerating the severity of their symptoms to fast-track an appointment.

John Smith, chief executive of PAGB believes more needs to be done to change people’s behaviour.  “With peak cold and flu season now upon us, it is crucial people have a better understanding of when they should visit their GP or A&E, and when advice and treatment from a local pharmacist would be more appropriate,” he said. “This would save the individual time and could also free up an appointment for someone who really needs it.”

The survey found that a quarter of people (24%) said they need more education about how to identify and treat common self-treatable conditions and 28% said a better understanding of the pharmacist’s qualifications would help them feel more confident to trust their advice. Nearly half (49%) said they would be more likely to visit a pharmacist, instead of a GP, if they knew how much time and money it could save them.

Community pharmacist and secretary of the North East London Pharmaceutical Committee, Hemant Patel commented: “The research findings highlight the need for greater awareness of the benefits community pharmacies can offer to them.”

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