People living in Gloucestershire are being encouraged to visit their local pharmacy for expert advice and treatment on common, less serious conditions.

People can get advice, medicines and other appropriate treatment on common illnesses such as flu-like symptoms, allergic rashes and headaches by simply going to a pharmacy at a time that suits them. Pharmacists can also provide treatment for babies and children for certain common conditions such as nappy rash, colic and teething.

Anything that people want to discuss will be completely confidential, and pharmacies can offer a private area to talk about symptoms.

Dr Bob Hodges, Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Gloucester City Locality Executive, said:

“Pharmacies offer patients easy, convenient access to expert advice and are a great first port of call for people to get information and treatment for many minor, common ailments.

People will often get the medicines they need straight away, and it is safe, because if the pharmacist decides that someone needs to see their GP, they will refer that person back to their GP surgery. It’s important to make sure that GPs have more time available to spend with patients who have more serious illnesses.”

Dr Charles Buckley, GP in Stroud and Pharmacy Lead with the CCG said:

“Visiting a pharmacy is often a quick and very effective way to resolve questions about medicines or obtain treatment or advice for less serious conditions. It also means that many patients can have their healthcare needs taken care of quickly, without having to use other services like GP surgeries and A&E departments.

Pharmacists are highly trained professionals and are experts in medicines and their use: they are an important part of the NHS family.

Visiting your pharmacist to discuss issues around medicines and minor illnesses will get you an expert opinion and valuable advice – please make good use of them.”

People should go straight to their pharmacy for advice on the following symptoms:

acute pain, earache, headache or temperature; sore throat; cough; cold sores; athlete’s foot; colds, flu-like symptoms or nasal congestion; conjunctivitis; constipation; cystitis; dermatitis, dry skin or an allergic-type skin rash; diarrhoea; head lice; haemorrhoids; heartburn or indigestion; infant colic; mouth ulcers; nappy rash; oral thrush; scabies; sprains and strains; teething; threadworms; vaginal thrush; hay fever ; and bites and stings.