Published on: 30 October 2023

This week is national Ask Your Pharmacist Week to raise awareness of the variety of NHS services on offer at local pharmacies.

Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines, managing minor illnesses and providing free and confidential health and wellbeing advice.

Importantly, pharmacists are trained to know how to spot the signs of serious illness and will refer you to a doctor or other suitable health care professional for a check-up or for treatment if necessary.

Pharmacists are supported by a team of trained staff working under their direct supervision. They can include:

  • Pharmacy technicians – skilled members of the pharmacy team who prepare, dispense and supply and issue a range of medicines to patients
  • Accredited checking technicians, who are specially trained to undertake accuracy checks of medicines
  • Dispensing assistants, who support the pharmacist in the management of dispensary stock
  • And Medicines counter assistants, who provide a range of essential functions to support the rest of the team.

Pharmacies are part of the NHS family and the range of clinical services provided by community pharmacies has expanded significantly in recent years. Not only can you often visit your community pharmacy without an appointment, but increasingly your GP practice or NHS 111 may refer you directly to your community pharmacy for health advice or treatment.

Alison Rogers, Pharmacy Integration Lead for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire said: “We want people to be aware of the skills and expertise on offer in pharmacies across the UK.

“Things have been changing at your local pharmacy, including the introduction of a range of new NHS services. Already you can benefit from prompt advice & treatment for minor illnesses, support for healthy living and medicines advice to help you manage your long-term medical conditions.

“Many pharmacies now also check blood pressure and provide NHS vaccinations including flu jabs but services that help you to understand new medication you have been prescribed and how to use it to best effect have also been expanded.

“Don’t miss out on NHS health care available conveniently and close to home, in your local pharmacy and you can see a new animation on all the pharmacy services here .”

Ask Your Pharmacist Week encourages the public to visit their local pharmacy for:

  • Advice and treatment for minor illnesses such as colds, coughs, itchy skin and eye infections.
  • Advice on staying well, preventing disease and stocking a safe medicines cabinet.
  • Support to maintain good sexual health.
  • Advice on stopping smoking.
  • Personalised support on managing medicines day to day and how to get the most benefit from your medicines.

If you need NHS services, convenient access to advice and supply of medicines, support for healthy living and prompt clinical advice – Don’t forget to Ask Your Pharmacist!