Last week, local MP Paula Sherriff visited our Boots Pharmacy, Dewsbury to see first-hand how community pharmacies are helping residents this winter. Paula heard how local pharmacies are helping residents get vaccinated against flu, and about the advice and support they can give when people have coughs, colds or other symptoms. She also heard about the need to make better use of community pharmacies to improve the health and wellbeing of local populations, and to ease pressure on other parts of the NHS.
During the visit Paula learned about how pharmacies use technology and information to best support patients. Pharmacist Manager Adwoa Hayford demonstrated how pharmacies access the Summary Care Record – an electronic summary of key clinical information (including medicines, allergies and adverse reactions) to assist them in supporting patients with their medicines. There was also discussion around how community pharmacy could better support patients in managing their both their acute and long-term conditions if they were to have better digital connectivity and referral mechanisms with other health services.
Zak Laher, Area Manager, said: “Community pharmacy teams are a trusted and very accessible part of the local community and we work hard to support people and provide a variety of healthcare solutions and services both online and in-store.
“Whilst a lot of our work is around supporting people to use their medicines correctly, we also help many people to make positive lifestyle changes, providing advice and guidance on topics such as healthy eating and smoking cessation. We offer many other services in-store, such as the NHS flu vaccination service and medicines use reviews, as well as a number of online clinics including erectile dysfunction, acne and hair loss.”
Ruth Buchan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire, added: “As many patients will know, our local community pharmacies are doing far more than just dispensing medicines this winter. They are offering a whole range of services and can be particularly helpful as we move into the winter season and GPs and hospitals become busier.
We believe the Government should be making better use of this network of healthcare locations in the heart of local communities, supporting better digital integration to enable community pharmacy to offer a range of additional services that would both suit patients and reduce pressure on other healthcare services.”
Boots offers the free NHS flu jab to eligible people aged 18 and over in more than 2,000 pharmacies in England and Wales. For those who aren’t eligible for the free NHS flu jab, Boots offers a private Winter Flu Jab Service for customers aged 16 and over in most Boots pharmacies across the UK. And this year, our private service is also available to customers from the age of 10 years, in selected stores. The private Winter Flu Jab Service costs £12.99.