People urged to visit one of almost 300 pharmacies in south west London as “first port of call”

People are being urged to continue making one of the near 300 pharmacies in south west London their “first port of call” for minor health issues following last week’s national ‘ask your pharmacist’ awareness week.
 
Health leaders are spreading a message that the public – and particularly parents of under-fives and working age people – are never too far away from convenient and quick expert advice from a pharmacist.
 
It comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan recently received his Covid-19 booster at Pearls Chemist, Tooting, while pharmacies across the south west London boroughs of Merton, Wandsworth, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton and Croydon are also delivering thousands of flu jabs.
 
There are some 295 pharmacies across Merton, Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston, Sutton and Croydon and NHS England estimates that around 95% of people live within a walk of one.
 
The local NHS is asking people suffering from minor ailments including sore throats, tummy bugs, nappy rash and teething to consider their local pharmacy before making an appointment to see their GP.
 
As pharmacists are highly trained health professionals, they can provide many of the same services that GPs do, but on a walk-in basis, meaning people do not need an appointment to see them.
 
They can offer treatments and free advice on common health issues and are also able to answer questions about any medication being taken and if they cannot help, will let people whether or not they need to see a doctor or get specialist support. Most pharmacies also have rooms for private conversations with patients.
 
Dr Andrew Murray, the clinical chair at south west London Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “With nearly 300 pharmacies across south west London, you’re never too far away from one – and they are so much more than just a place to collect your prescriptions. I would encourage people to use them as a first port of call if they need face to face advice for minor illnesses from sore throats and earache to nappy rash and teething problems and to consider using them for flu or Covid-19 jabs.
 
“Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends with no booking needed for fast, convenient clinical advice while most have a private consultation room for people to discuss health issues – meaning effective treatments for a wide range of common health concerns are available right there and then, whether you’re a mum with a toddler or have a busy work schedule.
 
“However, if symptoms suggest a more serious problem, pharmacists have the right clinical training to ensure people get the help they need. Of course, when people do feel they have a more significant health issue they should seek medical advice from 111 or their GP and for health emergencies from 999 or A&E.”
 
Among the other minor illnesses pharmacists may be able to offer expert clinical advice on are:
– Mild skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and impetigo
– Sore throats
– Eye infections
– Bites and stings
– Vomiting, indigestion, diarrhoea
– Head lice (nits).
 
Pharmacists can also help people with a range of other issues such as providing advice and support for those with long-term health conditions, explaining how to use new medicines and disposal of unwanted or out-of-date medicines.
 
See a list of ‘10 things you didn’t know you could ask a pharmacist’ at https://swlondonccg.nhs.uk/news/merton/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-ask-a-pharmacist/.
 
People should not go to a pharmacy if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or if they live with someone who has symptoms. They should try to call the pharmacy or contact them online before going in person.
 
More information about how pharmacies can help is available at https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/prescriptions-and-pharmacies/pharmacies/how-your-pharmacy-can-help/

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South West London CCG
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