Rishi Sunak urges constituents to Think Pharmacy First

Rishi Sunak has urged his constituents to make good use of their local pharmacist this winter.

The Richmond MP’s mother was a NHS pharmacist helping thousands of patients during her long career running the pharmacy alongside his father’s GP practice.

Mr Sunak said: “Having watched my mother and having worked in her pharmacy when I was young I am very aware of the help and advice that is available from trained pharmacists. Many can help with some of the most common problems which do not need to be treated by a GP.

The MP has backed a North Yorkshire campaign – Stay Well This Winter - to help people to prepare for bad weather, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.

He has also supported the Think Pharmacy First initiative which aims to encourage the public to contact their pharmacy first when suffering with colds/coughs and minor ailments, rather than making an appointment to see their GP or attending A&E.

Mr Sunak heard about the latest campaign news during a visit to Mills Pharmacy in Bedale.

He said: “All pharmacists have trained for five years and can offer expert advice on lots of minor ailments.

“Most pharmacies in North Yorkshire offer confidential consultation rooms too. They can help with common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, treating minor injuries and infections.

“If they can't help, they'll tell you whether you need to see a doctor or where else you could get the best treatment.”

He added: “On average 86,600 prescriptions are dispensed every month in the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby area. This is a very high number of people visiting their local community pharmacy given the area’s population is 144,000.

“Community Pharmacies like Mills in Bedale are ideally placed to protect the vulnerable in our area. And as highly skilled health professionals they can treat many aliments so there is no need to book a GP appointment.

Dr Charles Parker, local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Hambleton, Richmonshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We know that many people visit their GP with minor illnesses before or instead of asking for help and advice from their local pharmacist. Instead of booking a GP appointment in the first instance, patients can visit their local pharmacy and get expert advice and treatment, saving time and with no appointment needed.

“By reducing the number of GP appointments for these sorts of conditions, it also helps reduce the pressure on local practices keeping appointments for those in need.”