Over 300 high-street heroes across Birmingham and Solihull are ready to help people take the drama out of nasty winter illnesses such as colds, itchy eyes, upset tummies, sore throats, coughs and earache.
The advice given by pharmacists can help people of all ages stay well, prevent an illness getting worse, take the best course of action, and get well sooner.
Across Birmingham and Solihull there are 330 pharmacies of all sizes, which offer different opening hours.
Their trained pharmacists are on hand to provide the best clinical advice and over-the-counter treatment to safely manage unpleasant but minor illnesses. People just need to step through the door and ask – there is no need for an appointment, and a confidential consultation room can be used if required.
If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the clinical training to ensure people get the help they need immediately and can refer patients to a GP or A&E when necessary.
Every pharmacist trains for five years in the use of medicines before they qualify, and they are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.
Professor Mark Dasgupta, Birmingham and Solihull CCG’s Associate Director, Medicines Management, said: “Winter is a time when a broad range of illnesses and conditions make people feel unwell, miserable and uncomfortable. Our pharmacists are primed to help people manage these illnesses and relieve their symptoms, which are horrible but can often be treated with over-the-counter products.
“Pharmacies are fast and convenient to access. Most people live within easy reach of one. Nine out of 10 people live less than a 20-minute walk away from their local pharmacy and many of these offer extended opening hours in the evenings and at weekends. Using a pharmacy also takes pressure of GP practices, enabling them to focus on treating people who may have more serious and complex conditions.”