Are we making the most of our local pharmacies?
Pharmacists dispense and check prescriptions. They provide advice on how to take these medicines, and on minor health issues. However there's a whole host of additional services that are available from pharmacies. We wanted to find out if people knew about them.
117 people took part in our Healthwatch pharmacy survey. Just over three quarters of respondents were aware that additional services (of one kind or another) were available at pharmacies. But only 4 people had used any of them in the past year. Some of these additional services, such as flu vaccinations and blood pressure checks, were better known than others. Awareness of the weight management and healthy living service, for example, was quite low.
Emma Whitby, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Islington said,
'Many of the additional services available from pharmacies are about keeping people healthy, which helps keep pressure off GPs and hospitals. It's important that people who would benefit from these services know about them and use them.'
NHS England promotes the use of pharmacies through national media campaigns such as Stay Well This Winter and Self Care Week.
- Less than a third of respondents recognised these campaigns as promoting pharmacy.
- Most respondents preferred to get information about health services at their GP practices and in pharmacies themselves.
- Most respondents preferred other ways to get information, rather than going online or using social media.
Read the survey report, 'Pharmacy services in Islington - Awareness of additional services'.