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Nearly half of respondents to YouGov survey didn’t know about Pharmacy First launch

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Nearly half of respondents to YouGov survey didn’t know about Pharmacy First launch

Nearly half of people who took part in a survey on the public’s awareness of pharmacy services did not know about Pharmacy First ahead of its launch in England today.

The survey by YouGov and pharmacy technology platform Charac found 44 per cent of people who use pharmacies were unaware of the scheme’s launch, while only 23 per cent said they use pharmacies as their first port of call for minor conditions.

However, the number of patients who said they would turn to pharmacies before GPs rose to 56 per cent after being informed about Pharmacy First. The survey involved 2,028 people from England, Wales and Scotland. A previous Charac survey found 13 per cent of patients were “aware of the full scale of services pharmacies provide.”

Charac’s founder and chief executive Santosh Sahu said the “digitisation of the sector” was crucial in helping pharmacies deliver Pharmacy First. That, he said, would give “pharmacies an online platform where they can more efficiently manage their administrative processes” and provide “video consultations”.

“The pharmacy sector has long voiced its concerns about the introduction of Pharmacy First and we have seen first-hand how many community pharmacies are struggling to cope with an increase in demand,” he said.

“Ultimately, Pharmacy First will be vital in ensuring patients have easier access to healthcare, and for pharmacies to be able to provide a greater array of services to not only help their patients but also put them on a more sustainable financial position.”

Sahu said funding and improved access to digital resources “can make a tangible difference in equipping pharmacies for the future” and insisted Charac’s platform “enhances pharmacies’ online presence, makes their processes more efficient and helps them provide the broader range of services”.

National Pharmacy Association director of membership Simon Tebbutt said the survey showed “most people would be very happy to go to a pharmacy to get help with a common condition when they know what a pharmacist can offer.”

Insisting Pharmacy First “will be a godsend to millions of people”, he added: “We expect more and more people will use this straightforward and helpful route into the NHS as they hear about it. Pharmacies are local, expert, reliable and experienced, so a natural place for people to go for advice, treatment or help with many health issues.”

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