For advice with your medicines, look no further than a pharmacist
Trained staff can help choose the most suitable treatment.
Whether it's dealing with our kids' tummy bugs, bumps and grazes, helping an elderly relative or, or making sure we all stay fit and healthy, we all need healthcare advice from time to time.
And while many people's first instinct is to try to make an appointment with a GP, for most minor ailments it can be easier and more convenient to get help from your local pharmacist.
They are based in the heart of your community - usually on your local high street - so you can simply drop in and receive expert healthcare advice for you and your family, helping to save time.
Ash Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: "Many people don't realise that they can get the healthcare advice they need just by dropping in to their local pharmacy, without even booking an appointment.
"With GPs stretched like never before, it means you can often get treatment and advice much quicker than having to wait for a doctor's appointment."
Below we take a look at how your local pharmacy can help you find the most suitable treatment.
Pharmacists are experts in medicines and how they work
At thousands of community pharmacies, pharmacists all over Britain, including leading high-street chain Boots, these highly trained professionals can do so much more than simply dispense prescriptions.
They are experts in medicines and how they work, from complex prescription drugs to over-the-counter remedies for coughs and colds or pain relief.
You don’t need an appointment
Pharmacists can answer questions you may have about a prescription but, just as importantly, for most minor ailments, they can recommend a suitable treatment for you.
You don’t need an appointment, you can simply pop into your local Boots pharmacy store, where you’ll find a pharmacist and their team, happy to answer your questions.
Of course, some health problems are more serious and may need the attention of a GP – your local pharmacist is trained to spot these and will advise you to make an appointment.
This is a great example of how pharmacists and GPs can work in partnership.
Your local pharmacist can also help you and your family stay healthy
Your local pharmacist can also help you and your family stay healthy with many offering wellness advice, such as tips on healthy snacking.
Stephen Fishwick, of the National Pharmacy Association, which represents independent pharmacies, said: “It’s important people are made more aware of what’s available on their doorstep in pharmacies so they don’t make unnecessary trips to the GP or even A&E. Where else in the health service can you simply walk in off the street and get access to advice and treatment from a health care professional, without an appointment?
“Local pharmacies are highly accessible and many offer a wide range of services, as well as treatments for common ailments. It’s a package of care, not just packets of pills.”
Get help to stop smoking, have vaccinations and attend health screenings
That package of care available at Boots through the NHS and privately, includes services to help you stop smoking, vaccination services to help protect against HPV, flu and pneumonia, mole scanning (in association with ScreenCancer specialists), as well as a wide range of services for minor ailments and childhood illnesses.
For more information about services in your area pop into your local Boots pharmacy, or visit www.boots.com/health-pharmacy-advice