PSNC raise concerns on NHS ad campaign that encourages people to visit high-street pharmacy for minor illness


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The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has raised concerns over the NHS ad campaign highlighting how community pharmacies can support patients with non-health advice amidst the growing pressure on pharmacies.

It believes the campaign will only ‘worsen’ the pressure on pharmacies.

“It is always deeply concerning to see campaigns directing people to pharmacies without any regard for the pressures they are under: it is irresponsible and extremely unhelpful,” said PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison.

She called the campaign ‘particularly irritating’ just weeks after the committee rejected a series of proposals from NHS England and DHSC on relief measures to ease pressure on pharmacies as being totally inadequate.

“NHS England Board Members have noted the pressure on pharmacies – so why are their teams so often acting to make these pressures worse? We need to see a radical change in how NHS England treats pharmacies and we’re continuing to press for that via our influencing and campaigning work,” she added.

The NHS launched the new campaign on Monday (27 February) to highlight how high-street pharmacies can support patients with non-urgent health advice for minor conditions including coughs, aches and colds.

The move was followed after a new poll found that just one in five people aged 18-40 would visit their local pharmacy first for expert advice with a minor illness.

Chief pharmaceutical officer, David Webb, said: “Community pharmacies are right in the heart of local communities, and with pharmacists fully trained clinical professionals, they are the perfect place for anybody suffering from a minor illness to get expert advice.

“Pharmacies can offer the convenience of turn up on the day consultations and can help you get any care needed including over-the-counter-medicines. So whether suffering from a cough, earache, itchy eye, or any other minor illness, popping into your local pharmacy is a great way to nip an issue in the bud before it potentially worsens.”

YouTube star and community pharmacist Abraham Khadadi is supporting the latest campaigning, noting the convenience local pharmacies offer and the opportunity to speak with an experienced healthcare professional.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Pharmacist and YouTuber, Abraham said: “I would encourage everyone to make use of their local pharmacy. They are such a convenient way to obtain health advice on minor illnesses and you can usually just walk-in and speak to a pharmacist straight away – you don’t even need an appointment.

“All pharmacists train for four years at university with an additional year on a placement – so you can trust us to give you the advice you need – or signpost you to another health service if necessary.”

In response to news that the NHS has launched a pharmacy ad campaign, Morrison said: “Community pharmacies are the obvious first port of call for healthcare advice and this is why a national, fully funded Pharmacy First service makes so much sense. But the service must be fully funded: community pharmacies are at breaking point and cannot continue to operate without a significant injection of extra funds. We are making this point to Government and the NHS on a daily basis.”



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