Hundreds of community pharmacy open days are being held across the country as part of a week-long awareness campaign.
Ask Your Pharmacist Week, running from 6 to 13 November, aims to increase the awareness of the services community pharmacists offer, with this year’s theme being “Discover your Local Pharmacy”.
A survey, carried out by the National Pharmacy Assocation (NPA), which is coordinating the awareness campaign, revealed that while many people embrace the public health role of pharmacies, some topics are perceived as off-limits.
Although 60% of respondents understood they could ask their local pharmacy for a blood pressure check, a flu jab or help giving up smoking; fewer than half would inquire about how to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke and just 24% of respondents thought it acceptable to ask a pharmacist about reducing the risk of cancer, the study showed.
Head of communications at the NPA, 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’s 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.”
Ask Your Pharmacy week provides a platform for pharmacy public awareness activities across the UK and also serves as a prompt for conversations with customers and stakeholders at a local level about community pharmacy services, he added.
To help pharmacists promote the work they do, the NPA has provided advice on social media, how to download and print resources, and how to invite their local MP to their pharmacy. It has also provides resources on how to promote a consumer facing website and how pharmacists can contact their local press to get involved with promoting services.
For further information visit the NPA’s page www.npa.co.uk/discover