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Pharmacists and GPs join forces for Ask Your Pharmacist Week

During next week's Ask Your Pharmacist Week (November 11 – 18) Suffolk’s pharmacists and GPs have joined forces to urge people to make the most of the help and advice available at their local pharmacy.

There are 140 community pharmacies across the county and you can talk to your pharmacist about a wide range of health issues, not just about medicines.Yet sometimes people go to a doctor or even a hospital for things that could be sorted out more conveniently at the pharmacy.

Michelle Claridge, a pharmacist in Ipswich, said “I encourage you – during Ask Your Pharmacist Week and all year round - to visit your local pharmacy if you want clinical advice and prompt treatment for common illnesses like coughs, colds, eye infections and earache.

“Every pharmacist trains initially for five years in the use of medicines, managing minor illnesses and providing health & wellbeing advice. Pharmacists also have teams of staff who are trained to support you to live healthily.”

Suffolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) Chief Officer, Tania Farrow, said, “Pharmacists and their teams are readily accessible healthcare professionals in your community. They can help you to take care of yourself and provide expert advice to make sure you receive the appropriate treatment for your condition.”

Ask Your Pharmacist for:

- Advice and treatment for minor illness such as coughs, colds and earaches
- Advice on staying well and preventing disease
- Support to maintain good sexual health
- Help to quit smoking
- Personalised support to get the most from your medicines
- A consultation area where you can talk without being overheard

Nick Smith, a pharmacist in Clare, said: “Sometimes your local doctor’s surgery will suggest you see your pharmacist for convenient, professional advice and treatment for minor illnesses.  Or your pharmacist may refer you to the GP, if it’s something that can’t be sorted out in the pharmacy or requires further investigation. We work together so you get the right healthcare advice and support in the right place, from the right people.”

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Pharmacists have an integral role in supporting their local community to keep well and I would always ask patients to make the pharmacy the first port of call for dealing with any minor ailments."

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Pharmacists hold an incredible amount of knowledge and skill which can be accessed without an appointment, including often in the evenings and weekends.”

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