A recent report suggests that at least 1 in 7 of GP visits could have been dealt with by pharmacy.
Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more than that…
The problem is historic.
Here in the UK we have been brought up on the idea that if you are feeling unwell then the next step is to visit your GP. The problem with that is that too many people adopt this approach and visit the doctor for some very minor ailments; coughs, colds, the odd rash, etc. This is OK, but with the general population living much longer these days, it is inevitable that it leads to long waiting lists at the doctor’s surgery putting them under immense strain.
The types of ailments could be dealt with swiftly during your visit to the local high street where you can find your pharmacy.
It sounds simple but it’s not really. You see, this approach relies on changing the general public’s mind-set and getting them to consider a visit to the pharmacist first, and we all know that generally most people don’t like change.
A Pharmacy first approach does have some very significant benefits to the customer.
It means getting seen quickly, and receiving good quality advice from a highly trained healthcare professional, one who can recommend appropriate medicines for your ailments that you can purchase whilst there. Then you are on your way to recovery a solution in minutes!
Today’s modern pharmacy is fully equipped to help patients with minor ailments, particularly when we consider the consultation room, which is now a well-equipped, professional space every bit as good as what you would find at your GP’s. With a wealth of additional healthcare services, the pharmacy really is the place to go for minor ailments.
I do believe that in time the mind-set of the general population will change, and it’s up to the healthcare professionals to help people to turn the corner – literally – and visit the Pharmacy First.
This approach is a WIN-WIN for all concerned, with the customer getting seen and treated quicker, the pharmacist getting more business and selling more products, and gradually helping take the heat off the doctors and the NHS in general, which benefits us all as taxpayers. And if the non-urgent cases are diverted away from the surgery, those who really need to see a doctor will be able to do so more quickly.
Like all these things it will take time to see a real difference, but if we all get behind this idea, then together we can achieve so much for the benefit of all.