Patients are being encouraged to “take the drama out of minor illnesses” by visiting their pharmacist, as part of a movie poster-inspired campaign to encourage greater use of community pharmacies.
NHS England and NHS Improvement’s 2020 version of the ‘Help us help you’ campaign, which promotes the use of pharmacies as the first port of call for minor illness, has been launched using updated materials inspired by movie posters.
Fictional movies Night of the itchy eye and Sore throat and the lost voice are among the posters being used to promote a greater use of pharmacy.
The poster notes for Night of the itchy eye state: “Produced by an infection or allergy; starring a bloodshot or watering eye with a burning or gritty sensation; in association with Red Eye Productions; see a pharmacist now in a confidential consultation room near you.”
The winter pressures campaign, which officially began on 20 January 2020, encourages the public to use their local community pharmacy as the first place to go to for clinical advice on minor health concerns that do not require a GP appointment, including earache, itchy eyes and sore throat. There is also a focus on parents and carers of children aged 5–12 years.
“The message from this advertising campaign is clear,” said Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for England.
“Patients can get expert and swift clinical advice from their local pharmacist, and get their minor illness seen to straight away, helping alleviate pressure on busy GPs and A&Es this winter.”
Brendon Jiang, portfolio pharmacist and member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, also commented: “The posters are certainly eye-catching and a drastic departure from the typical posters of smiling healthcare professionals welcoming you into their care.
“While the posters demand attention and are clever with their healthcare twist on the classic B-movie horror genre, I’m not sure how successful they will be in nudging the public to utilise pharmacy first for minor ailments or changing behaviours in the long term.
“In my view, pharmacists already possess the ability to do this themselves by providing excellent care and making the most of the community pharmacy consultation service (CPCS).”
The CPCS was launched in October 2019 and figures published by the Department of Health and Social Care in January 2020 show that 114,275 people were referred to the 10,610 pharmacies operating the service via NHS 111 in the first ten weeks of the service’s operation.
The 2020 help us help you campaign will comprise of a dramatic TV advert, social media and bus shelter advertising, posters and other online advertising. Digital resources for pharmacies to use can also be downloaded from the Public Health England website.