Pop along to the pharmacist if you’re feeling poorly

Wed 10th February 2016


Doctors in Sunderland are asking people to think carefully about where they go for treatment when they are unwell.

A range of minor ailments can be treated quickly and effectively by visiting your local pharmacist, easing the pressure on other services such as GPs and walk-in centres and leaving A&E free for real emergencies.

And around 85% of pharmacies now have a private consultation area where patients can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard by other members of the public.

NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Clinical Chair and local GP Dr Ian Pattison said: “Pharmacists are highly trained and very much an underused resource in terms of the advice they can offer to patients.

“Many people don’t realise that pharmacists train for five years, so you can rely on them for detailed knowledge of medicines.

“With more than 700 pharmacies in the North East and no need to make an appointment, it’s far simpler to ask a pharmacist about minor things like coughs, headaches and winter vomiting.”

Demand for NHS services goes up during the winter months, so it’s crucial that services are available for people who need them most, he added.

“Winter weather means more slips and trips – and generally more of us feeling unwell as we spend more time indoors and coughs, colds and other viruses are passed around.

“That adds up to more people wanting to see their GP, attend Accident and Emergency or call 999. But it’s important to stop and consider the best service for your needs.

“Most normally healthy people with a winter illness do not need to see their GP, attend A&E and absolutely do not need to call 999. Colds, sore throats, headaches, hangovers, upset stomachs, coughs, aches, pains and winter vomiting should all be treated at home or with advice from a local pharmacist, with painkillers, rest and plenty of fluids.

“That way you are helping to reduce the spread of winter viruses and also keeping appointments available for people with serious health conditions who must see a doctor or nurse.”

For more information about keeping well in winter, visit

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