This time last year, it would have been impossible for any of us to imagine just what challenges lay ahead in the coming months.
In truth, it’s hard to overstate what a significant year this has been for community pharmacy in Scotland. More than ever I have watched with pride as colleagues across the community pharmacy network have worked together tirelessly to offer nothing short of a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities at a time they needed us most. And it’s not gone unrecognised.
National polling carried out by the National Pharmacy Association in June found that there is strong public support for a greater role for pharmacies within the NHS.
- 74% want pharmacies to provide more NHS services.
- 89% of people believe pharmacies play an essential role.
Yet at the same time, the survey reported that only 3 out of 10 people are “definitely aware” that community pharmacies are part of the NHS, despite the fact that pharmacies are the most visited of all settings where NHS care is offered. Indeed, throughout the pandemic community pharmacies were one of the few healthcare settings that kept their “doors open”, providing much needed, face to face convenient access to healthcare services to the public.
Community pharmacies provide a range of NHS services and pharmacy teams work with other professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to give you the best possible care as part of the local healthcare team.
Community pharmacists demonstrated incredible resilience and fortitude from the front line of the COVID crisis, ensuring that as many people with minor medical needs and long-term conditions were kept safe at home. At Lindsay & Gilmour, both our online prescription management service and free home delivery service grew in demand exponentially.
This, in turn, played a vital role in protecting hospital beds and secondary care resources available for those who were directly affected by COVID-19.
The recent introduction of NHS Pharmacy First Scotland means even greater access to your community pharmacist to discuss a wide range of health and healthcare issues, not just about medicines. Sometimes people go to a doctor or even a hospital for problems that could be sorted out more conveniently at the pharmacy. It’s estimated that up to 18 million GP appointments per year and 3.7 million A&E visits could instead be handled in a pharmacy.
So please, do remember to Ask Your Pharmacist for:
- Advice and treatment for minor illnesses such as coughs, colds and earache
- Advice on staying well and preventing disease
- A range of vaccinations
- Help to quit smoking
- Personalised support to get the most from your medicines
Pharmacy teams deliver prompt, professional health care advice when and where it is needed. The community pharmacy network in Scotland and beyond is a precious resource. We are proud to be part of the NHS team and privileged to be able to serve our community.
Philip Galt is Superintendent Pharmacist and Managing Director at Lindsay & Gilmour.