Posted by Amanda Crawford at 09/11/2016 17:13:41
People across west Kent are being encouraged to visit their local pharmacist rather than a GP for advice on treating minor ailments.
Pharmacists can offer help and advice on many illnesses, such as colds or fever, which can be safely treated at home without the need to see a doctor.
They can also sell a range of medication – often at lower cost than a prescription – which will save both patients and the NHS money.
Patients can find their nearest pharmacy by using Health Help Now, a locally developed website and app. Available at www.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk, it has tailored advice for different age groups, and shows the nearest NHS services and whether they are open or closed. Health Help Now, which has been used more than 170,000 times, can also be downloaded to your iPhone or Android phone. Just search for Health Help Now on Google Play or the App Store.
These messages are being promoted by the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group during Self Care Week (from Monday 14 November). The week also coincides with European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Friday 18 November, which encourages the correct use of antibiotics.
Dr Bob Bowes, Chair of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Pharmacists are a valuable resource for people when they are feeling under the weather with things like a cold, tummy ache or mild fever. People can save themselves time and free up GP appointments for others. A whole range of medication – from non-branded ibuprofen and paracetamol to antihistamines – can be bought at pharmacists for as little as 19p.
“By supporting people to help themselves, we can not only improve the quality of life for individuals but also use NHS services even more effectively, particularly with winter approaching when we all know that A&E and GPs face huge demand.
“The more that people can take charge of their own healthcare, the more they can save themselves time and save the NHS money which can be invested in providing life-saving treatment. The run-up to winter is also a good time to check that your medicine cabinet is well-stocked.
“You can use the website and mobile phone app Health Help Now if you’re not sure what to do or who to call.”
Developed by the NHS in Kent and Medway, Health Help Now is available on the web and to download to your smart phone. It has lots of local information and can guide you to the service that will be best able to deal with your symptoms. It will show you your nearest pharmacy and whether it is open or closed.
Find out more about Self Care Week: www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/09/self-care-week/
NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group plans and buys healthcare for the people of Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and the southern part of Sevenoaks.