You might only visit once in a while to drop off a prescription or pick up some medical supplies, so you might not know that your pharmacy has a lot more to offer when it comes to taking care of your health.
As well as providing health advice and medicines, many local pharmacies are now trained to diagnose and treat minor illnesses or ailments, review your medication, help you stop smoking and even help you recover from a hospital stay – at no cost to you.
It’s all thanks to the Choose Pharmacy scheme, recently rolled out by the Welsh Government which is designed to ease the growing pressure on GP surgeries and hospitals and make it easier for you to get expert help, quickly and more conveniently.
With ten local pharmacies across South Wales, we take our role in providing community healthcare and supporting NHS Wales services very seriously. Our pharmacists and technicians are highly trained and experts in medicine, so popping in for a chat with them can be a great alternative to joining the GP waiting list.
Of course, pharmacists can’t treat every condition, and if you do need to see a GP they will tell you, but they are a great and free first port of call for addressing your health concerns.
Here are just some of the ways we can help you that you might not be aware of:
If you’re suffering a minor illness or ailment
It can be challenging to get a doctor’s appointment that’s convenient – and in some cases, you might not feel your symptoms warrant the GP’s time.
The Common Ailments Service has been set up exactly for these situations. Maybe you have a child who’s suffering from eye infections, head lice or chicken pox, a relative with constipation, back pain or in-growing toenails, or perhaps you have some skin-related complaint, indigestion or a sore throat.
All these conditions and many more can now be treated confidentially and free of charge at all our pharmacies. If we still think you need to see a doctor, we’ll tell you.
See the full list of treatable conditions and find out more about our free NHS Wales-funded Common Ailments Service.
If you want to understand and manage your medicine better
When you take regular prescription medication, it’s good to review it from time to time, especially if it’s not giving you the benefits you were hoping for or you’ve noticed a worsening in your symptoms.
Even if you don’t have any concerns, there may be other ways to take your medicine or small adjustments to your prescription that could make you feel even better. That’s why all pharmacies are now able to offer patients taking regular medication a free Medicines Use Review service.
You’ll still need to review your condition and overall treatment with your GP, but our free service can give you better control over your treatment and reassure you that you’re taking the right medicine.
Find out more about our free Medicines Use Review service.
If you’re coming out of the hospital
After a hospital stay, patients often discover an error or problem with their prescription medicine when they leave. One study found a third of patients whose medication was changed following a hospital visit were readmitted within two weeks.
Many pharmacies are now accredited to provide a Discharge Medicines Review service to reduce the chance of this happening. Making sure you’re taking the right type of medicine or the right dose is important for making a good recovery and avoiding an emergency trip back to the hospital.
Often your GP isn’t in a position to make changes to your prescription in time for your discharge, but we offer a free service to ensure you start taking the right medication straight away so that you can recover safely.
Find out more about our free NHS Wales-funded Discharge Medicines Review Service.
If you want to give up smoking
Giving up smoking will save you money and dramatically improve your health, but it can be tough to do it alone.
Studies show that you’re up to four times more likely to give up smoking for good if you use a combination of medicine and specialist help from a local stop smoking service. We are proud to be a trusted provider of such services.
If you’re looking to give up smoking and want to improve your chance of success, our free NHS Wales-funded Smoking Cessation Level 3 service can provide guidance, counseling and treatment at every step of the way.
Find out more about our stop smoking services today.
We offer a number of free services in addition to those listed above, including safe medicine disposal, the flu vaccination and a triage and treat for minor injuries. To find out more, please visit our website.
We’re far from just being your local pharmacy. We’re your community health hub.