In an age where Google seems to have the answer for everything, you may think that your role as a pharmacist for promoting health and wellbeing is becoming less important. However anyone who has used an online symptom checker or forum before will know that these answers can often be vague and contradictory. Meanwhile, many patients are unaware that they can receive help and advice at their local pharmacy instead of visiting their GP, and put undue pressure on the NHS as a result. Below are 5 roles that your pharmacy should promote to the public, and continue to treat as your duty in the community.
Obesity is becoming an ever more prevalent issue in the UK, with a massive 20% of the population classed as medically obese. However there are also a growing number of cases of anorexia and severe weight loss. As a pharmacist, you should make your community aware that you offer help and support for those wanting to manage their weight, to help tackle these nationwide problems.
Educating the community, especially younger members, is an important duty for a pharmacy. Many people are embarrassed to talk about their sexual health, even to a medical professional, so make an effort to create a private and safe environment where your patients can discuss STIs, pregnancy and sexual issues.
Cold and Flu
According to the NHS, around 57 million GP appointments every year consist of minor health problems. And yet, many patients are unaware that for common ailments such as cold and flu they can simply visit their pharmacy for advice and treatment. Make it known that you are an easier alternative to the doctor for cold and flu treatment, and take the strain off your local GP.
Lung cancer the most common and deadly form of the disease, and the vast majority of deaths are directly related to smoking. You should therefore offer a range of smoking cessation aids, as well as help and advice to those wanting to quit smoking, in order to tackle this serious disease. From leaflets to nicotine patches and e-cigarettes, there are lots of ways that you can support those attempting to give up tobacco.
A healthy and balanced diet throughout life can help to prevent health problems in later years, so don’t underestimate the power of providing guidance on nutrition to your patients. Meanwhile, some patients will require tailored advice, such as those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women.
Place your pharmacy firmly into the bedrock of the community, by establishing your business as the go-to provider of treatment and advice for common health problems and questions. Take your responsibilities seriously and promote your role to those who may be unaware of the extra services you provide. By doing so, your business will grow and your patients will become more loyal to their local pharmacy.
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This article was written by Kelly Gilmour Grassam with useful information from Pharma Protect. You can follow her on Twitter @KellyGGrassam