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10 minutes with Karen Baker, Care pharmacist at Thornton & Ross


10 minutes with Karen Baker, Care pharmacist at Thornton & Ross

How important is the ‘front of house’ within pharmacy?

The front shop in pharmacy is the most visible place and where the relationship between a customer and a member of the pharmacy team really begins. With the NHS revealing in October that more than 100,000 patients were seen by their high street pharmacist for minor illnesses in just one month, the relationship between pharmacist and patient is more important than ever.

This follows on from the rise seen since the pandemic, with data for 2022 showing that 865,000 people on average were given clinical advice by pharmacists per week, an increase of 44 per cent in two years.

What advice are customers looking for?

One of the biggest pieces of advice consumers ask pharmacists for is self-care related. In June, 118,123 people with minor illnesses such as a sore throat or constipation, and those in need of medicine urgently, received a same-day consultation with their local pharmacist after calling NHS 111 or their GP practice – an increase of more than 83 per cent on the number in the same month last year (64,512).

What effect is the cost-of-living crisis having on consumers?

More advice is needed on suitable products to purchase right now, as many common lines and brands have availability issues – so counter staff may be asked to recommend alternative products or less expensive ones as the cost-of-living crisis hits. Many of the ‘old fashioned’ remedies are just as effective as the newer brands but less expensive to buy.

How can Care help?

Training guides, such as The Ultimate Guide to Care app, provide insight on alternative brand products for items including ibuprofen, cold and flu remedies, and skin treatments. 

As the NHS looks to utilise pharmacists more than ever, it is important the team behind the counter receive the support and resources they need in order to provide the quality service front of house that UK consumers are accustomed to.

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