Parents in Leeds are being urged to visit a local pharmacy rather than their GP if their child has a minor illness.
Millions of parents could get more convenient and timely expert advice by consulting a pharmacist, which would also free up GP time for sicker patients and help save the NHS around £850m each year.
The appeal comes as part of the Stay Well Pharmacy Campaign, launched by the NHS and backed by pharmacists and Netmums parenting website. Paul Twomey, medical director for NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Pharmacists are available to provide health advice and are conveniently located and easy to access within your local community.
“Pharmacists are able to provide advice in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice, so they are a helpful person to see for minor health concerns.
“Using a pharmacy as the first point of call for such advice will provide you with helpful and timely support.”
Around 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E are for self-treatable conditions – such as coughs, colds, tummy troubles and teething. The costs of these appointments is £850m – equivalent to more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations.
The NHS nationally is working with community pharmacies to increase the range of patient services they provide including asthma audits and flu vaccinations. Nine out of 10 pharmacies have a consultation room for people who want to discuss their health concerns in private. The Stay Well Pharmacy campaign will be supported by a TV advert, and digital and social media advertising.
For more information, or to find your nearest pharmacy, visit NHS.uk