Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

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Think Pharmacy First for range of minor ailments

Doctors in Newcastle and Gateshead are asking people to Think Pharmacy First when they are unwell.

A range of minor ailments can be treated quickly and effectively by visiting your local pharmacist, easing the pressure on other services such as GPs and walk-in centres and leaving A&E free for real emergencies.

And around 85% of pharmacies now have a private consultation area where patients can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard by other members of the public.

NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chair and local GP Dr Guy Pilkington said: “Pharmacists are highly trained and very much an underused resource in terms of the advice they can offer to patients.

“Many people don’t realise that pharmacists train for five years, so you can rely on them for detailed knowledge of medicines.

“With more than 700 pharmacies in the North East and no need to make an appointment, it’s far simpler to ask a pharmacist about minor things like coughs, headaches and winter vomiting.

“Some pharmacies can provide medicines for common illnesses free to people who do not pay for their prescriptions, as part of the Think Pharmacy First scheme.

“That can include things like coughs, colds, headaches, hay fever, insect bites and stings, eczema, earache and diarrhoea, so it’s worth asking your local pharmacist for details.”

The scheme is available to adults who are entitled to free prescriptions on the grounds of low income and their children, along with all people aged 60 or over.

To get this free treatment you will need to sign the prescription that the pharmacist prescribes and show proof that you do not have to pay. This could be your low-income HC2 certificate or proof of income support.

To receive free medicines for a child on the Think Pharmacy First scheme, the parent or guardian must also be eligible for free prescriptions.

Patients can make use of the scheme at any pharmacy in Newcastle or Gateshead which displays a Think Pharmacy First window banner or door sticker.

For more information about keeping well in winter, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell