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If you want to know what your local pharmacy offers, ask your pharmacist

Today (Monday 6 November) is the start of ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ week, and the NHS across East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen is asking more people to make the most of their local pharmacy.

‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’ is a national initiative to raise awareness of the services on offer in pharmacies to help people stay well during the winter months.

Often, people make unnecessary trips to the GP or even A&E, when a pharmacist could help instead. However, whilst some people go first to their chemist for medicines and medicine advice, many don’t know about the range of other healthcare services on offer in chemists.

In recent years, pharmacists have expanded their role, and now provide a wide range of clinical and preventative health services, within easy reach of the people who need them most. They offer free expert advice on a wide range of health issues, support for self-care and medicines to treat common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.

Dr Preeti Shukla, Clinical Lead at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said: “Pharmacists are the experts in medicine and already give advice on a range of minor conditions.

“People often don’t seek advice for their wheezes, coughs and sneezes because they don’t think it’s serious enough, or they don’t want to waste their pharmacist’s time. But no problem is too small for your local pharmacist, who is a highly trained and trusted source of health advice.”

Dr Lisa Rogan, Head of Medicines Commissioning at NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Community pharmacists are highly trained and knowledgeable health professionals. They don’t just dispense medicines but also do things such as blood pressure, health checks, inhaler technique, stop smoking advice, weight management, and immunisations, to name just a few.

“Pharmacists are available without appointment, easy to access and are able to deal with a wide range of ailments as well as offering advice and support on how to look after, and improve, your health.”

To find your nearest pharmacy visit www.nhs.uk