Health leaders in Milton Keynes are urging patients to visit their local pharmacist this winter for advice on common health complaints in order to help family doctors spend more time with seriously ill patients.
Discovering what is available at your local pharmacy can help you find out more about the range of services on offer and the types of medical questions pharmacists can assist with.
As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists are there to provide free expert advice on a wide range of health issues including how to treat common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.
They also often offer a wide range of additional services including smoking cessation, blood pressure, cholesterol, flu vaccinations and Body Mass Index checks.
Dr Nicola Smith, a local GP and chair of NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who have undertaken a minimum of five years education and training; they therefore have expert knowledge on prescription and over the counter medicines.
“By visiting your local pharmacist for advice on how to prevent and treat common illnesses you will be helping to free up GP appointments for people with more complicated or serious conditions, which is especially important over the busy winter period.
“Also in Milton Keynes we have the MK Pharmacy First scheme which provides confidential health advice without needing to book an appointment. If you don’t pay for your prescription, the pharmacy can supply your recommended medicines free of charge. I recommend using MK Pharmacy First instead of booking a GP appointment and you will get immediate advice and treatment.”
During the winter period where colds, coughs and illnesses are common, patients can get advice, treatment and medicines quickly at their local pharmacy without having to wait for a GP appointment.
There are 45 community pharmacies in Milton Keynes to choose from. Some are open later in the evening, over weekends and on bank holidays.
For more information on how to Stay Well this Winter and to find your local pharmacy visit www.nhs.uk/staywell