NHS launches public health campaign to encourage parents to utilise pharmacists for minor illnesses

NHS England have launched a new public health campaign urging parents to consult a pharmacist first for minor illness, instead of going straight to their GP or A&E. They say parents could get appropriate advice more quickly, which could also ease some of the pressure on general practice. 

Responding to the campaign Dr Mike Linney, Registrar for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

“The NHS is under severe pressure and with over 5 million A&E attendances recorded for under-18s in 2015-16. It is right that parents should be signposted to the most appropriate services for non-emergency health concerns, such as to a pharmacist. As well as relieving some of the pressure on general practice, pharmacists are likely to provide parents with advice more quickly and conveniently.  

Despite 79% of parents saying they are aware pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals, only 6% would seek help from them for a health concern in the first instance. 

We all need to emphasise that alternative resources are available to parents and caregivers when they have less serious concerns about the health of their child.

Of course, if they have immediate serious concerns about their child they should call NHS 111 or attend A&E.”

Ends.

Parents can also find information on a range of minor ailments and illnesses on the NHS Choices website: https://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx