Posted by Amanda Crawford at 28/03/2018 17:14:02
Doctors in west Kent are urging residents to stock up on their medicines before the Easter bank holidays. And anyone who is going away on holiday should make sure they take their medication with them.
The advice comes during a major public health campaign urging people to visit a pharmacist first for minor illness, instead of a GP or A&E.
Dr Bob Bowes, Chair of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "GP surgeries will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday, so if you do run out of medicine, contact your local pharmacy. Pharmacists can offer help and advice on many illnesses, such as colds and fevers, which can be treated at home without the need to see a doctor.
“Pharmacies also sell a range of medication, often at lower cost than a prescription, which will save both patients and the NHS money. Many pharmacies in west Kent are part of the Common Ailments scheme, which offers expert advice and free medications for certain illnesses to people who don’t usually pay for their prescriptions. For more information, look out for the Common Ailments Scheme posters.
“There are local pharmacies open on Good Friday, Saturday as usual, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, use the NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk, to find the opening times of your nearest pharmacies and other local services over the Easter period.
“Why not take time now to restock your medicine cabinet with essentials such as paracetamol, plasters and children’s medicine to avoid an urgent trip out over the bank holiday weekend?
“If you urgently need medical care when your GP practice is closed, and the pharmacy can’t help, please ring NHS 111 for advice. They can arrange for you to see an out-of-hours GP service if necessary.”
Around 95 per cent of people live within a 20 minute walk of a local community pharmacy, making pharmacists easily accessible and a valuable first port of call for minor health concerns such as coughs, colds, tummy troubles or teething.
Around 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E are for self-treatable conditions - such as coughs and tummy troubles - at a cost of more than £850 million each year to the NHS. The call for people, in particular the five million parents of children under five, to use their local pharmacist first for advice is part of the NHS Stay Well Pharmacy campaign. It is backed by pharmacists and Netmums, the UK’s biggest parenting website.