The 2017 Ask Your Pharmacist Week (6-13 November) has kicked off, with pharmacies throughout the country set to host open days with this year’s theme of ‘Discover Your Local Pharmacy’.

The event provides a platform for public awareness activities, the National Pharmacy Association says, and can help spark conversations with customers and local stakeholders about the services available through community pharmacy.

Pharmacist Rachel Solanki, who is holding two open days in Quadrant Pharmacy, Hertfordshire, said: “Most people know that pharmacists are available for medicines advice, but many don’t know about the other services we can provide. This is a great opportunity to tell people about the range of NHS services available in pharmacies, often without the need for an appointment, and the high level of healthcare expertise here.

“For my own open days I will be promoting blood pressure checks in particular. The pharmacy will be decorated with the balloons and bunting supplied by the NPA.”

Study highlights awareness levels

An NPA study carried out ahead of AYP Week suggests that while the public is increasingly aware of community pharmacy’s public health role, some topics are still perceived as being ‘off-limits’. 60 per cent of respondents said they knew they could ask at their local pharmacy for a blood pressure check, a flu jab, or help with smoking cessation. However, only 24 per cent knew they could ask about reducing cancer risks, and less than 20 per cent were aware that the vast majority of pharmacies have consultation rooms.

NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick said: “People are starting to understand that pharmacists are highly qualified clinicians. The public is getting accustomed to certain ‘new’ pharmacy services, such as flu vaccinations on the NHS, and they understand that pharmacies have a role in supporting healthier lifestyles.

“Yet they need to be reassured that nothing is off limits in terms of what you can ask your pharmacist about your medicines, your health or your general wellbeing. We want people to feel that it’s perfectly acceptable to talk with the pharmacy team about cancer, sexual health and many other topics they might have thought were out of bounds.”

Social media and other online resources are available at the NPA website.

We Recommend

GPs need to give patients free choice of pharmacy, says NHS England

NHS England has written to GPs asking them to display a poster informing patients of their right to choose their pharmac...

May in numbers

A look at the news from May in numbers

Popular Features

Make the most of the consultation area

Are you using your consultation area to the maximum, or is there potential for this resource in community pharmacy to be...

Selling in the pharmacy

How to balance commercial enterprise with proper and correct care.

Legal advice: construction issues

I am taking a lease of a new pharmacy that is under construction. How do I protect myself against problems?