Ask Your Pharmacist Week kicks off today (Monday November 6) with the first of hundreds of ‘Discover Your Local Pharmacy’ open days taking place across the UK.

Pharmacist Rachel Solanki, who is holding two open days in Quadrant Pharmacy, Hertfordshire, said: “Most people know that pharmacists are available for medicines advice, but many don’t know about the other services we can provide. This is a great opportunity to tell people about the range of NHS services available in pharmacies, often without the need for an appointment, and the high level of healthcare expertise available.”

A National Pharmacy Association study carried out ahead of AYP Week shows that while many people are embracing the public health role of pharmacies, some topics are perceived as off-limits.

The survey reveals that 60 per cent of people understand they can ask at their local pharmacy for a blood pressure check, a flu jab or help to give up smoking. Some 44 per cent say they would ask for advice about reducing the risks of heart attack or stroke, yet only a quarter (24 per cent) say it is OK to ask in a pharmacy about reducing cancer risks. Less than 20 per cent are aware that the vast majority of pharmacies have consultation rooms.

NPA head of communications, Stephen Fishwick, said: “People are starting to understand that pharmacists are highly qualified clinicians. The public is getting accustomed to certain new pharmacy services, such as flu vaccinations on the NHS, and they understand that pharmacies have a role in supporting healthier lifestyles. Yet they need to be reassured that nothing is off limits in terms of what you can ask your pharmacist about your medicines, your health or your general wellbeing.

“We want people to feel that it is perfectly acceptable to talk with the pharmacy team about cancer, sexual health and many other topics they might have thought were are out of bounds.”

This is a great opportunity to tell people about the range of NHS services available in pharmacies

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