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Awareness of pharmacy services remains low


Awareness of pharmacy services remains low

By Sasa Jankovic

Public awareness of pharmacy services has improved but there is still a way to go, according to a survey by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).

As this year’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week gets into gear, the NPA report showed only 48 per cent of people questioned knew that many pharmacies in England offer blood pressure monitoring (NHS or private), and only 51 per cent knew about the CPCS service that enables GP surgeries to formally refer patients to their local pharmacist for same-day clinical advice about minor ailments.

On the positive side, 55 per cent of respondents knew the majority of pharmacies have consultation rooms from where they can provide services – up 11 per cenr on the number responding to a similar NPA survey five years ago – and 68 per cent knew that flu jabs are available in many pharmacies.

However, there is still more work to do when it comes to public awareness of the New Medicine Service (NMS), which began in 2011 and was expanded in 2021 to include medicines for 13 additional conditions. The NPA survey showed that only 56 per cent of those asked knew that pharmacies in England offer NHS consultations for people newly prescribed a medicine for a long-term condition.

As a result, NPA head of communications, Stephen Fishwick, says this year’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week will “focus on specific NHS services, like the New Medicine Service, rather than a more general message about pharmacy advice”.

To that end, the theme for 2022 is ‘Now at your local pharmacy’, highlighting NHS services that have been recently introduced or expanded in community pharmacy such as blood pressure monitoring, as well as a host of conditions covered by the NMS. The NPA has also joined forces with patient groups to promote the NMS via activities such as a Know Your Medicines Q&A with Parkinson’s UK, chaired by journalist Rory Cellan-Jones, who is living with the disease himself.

Contractors can access a range of support materials and information videos to help promote Ask Your Pharmacist Week, including template social media posts describing the NMS service.

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