Around 350,000 people get help from a community pharmacy every day in Wales who access services such as advice and treatment for minor conditions, free NHS flu vaccinations, emergency contraception and the Stop Smoking service.
Amy Fjelle is the pharmacist at Boots in Welshpool. She says, “Don’t wait for it to get worse. Ask us first and help us to help you. We continue to offer advice and treatment for common conditions over the counter but we are now also offering consultations over the phone which have been working really well.
“We do ask that if you need prescriptions, order in advance and allow for seven days between order and collection. This helps us to make sure we have the medications and give us the time to get it ready safely.
“It’s also a good idea to make sure your medicine cabinet and first aid kit are up to date before winter sets in as you may well be able manage minor conditions without even leaving home.”
Patients are also able to access the Common Ailments Service at pharmacies, as an alternative to seeing their GP and without the need for a prescription, as pharmacists are able to diagnose and treat a range of common ailments such as head lice, indigestion, back pain, eye infections and threadworms.
Like other pharmacies across Wales, Boots in Welshpool has also been busy running its free NHS flu jab vaccination programme:
“We’re still offering the free NHS flu jabs and popping into your pharmacy is a great way to relieve pressure from your GP. It also helps prevent more people becoming ill this winter so I’d really urge you to get your vaccine.”
"With New Year approaching, it is also hoped that there will be increased uptake of the Stop Smoking service With New Year approaching we’re hoping that many more people will come forward for this service. There are lots of things we can do to help. We can provide patches, gums and inhalers which help to increase by four times the chances of a successful quit.”
Jason Carroll, Medicines Management Pharmacist at Powys Teaching Health Board said: “It’s important the public continues to help us, help you this winter by considering whether your local pharmacy can deal with your health concerns. We are working hard to keep services running whilst trying to keep you safe.
“We don’t always need a visit to the GP – we can often access many of the same treatments directly on our high street. Pharmacies are a key service if you are feeling unwell or have minor health concerns.”
“NHS 111 Wales is also available, all day and every day. GPs are busy but if you are worried about persistent symptoms, please don’t let your needs go unchecked. And remember, if you have Covid symptoms no matter how mild, self-isolate and book a test.”
Thousands of people use the NHS 111 Wales symptom checker every day in Wales. Visit NHS 111 Wales - Check Your Symptoms.