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National Ask Your Pharmacist Week (30 October to 6 November)

The theme for this year’s national Ask Your Pharmacist Week (30 October-6 November) is ‘Meet Your Local Pharmacy Team’.

Posted on: 30 October 2023

The week is about highlighting the skills and NHS services available in pharmacies across the UK.

Pharmacies are part of the NHS family and the range of clinical services they provide has expanded significantly in recent years.

Below are some facts about pharmacists that you should know ...

  • Pharmacists train for five years before they can qualify. They learn about the human body and the use of medicines to treat disease and diagnose common illnesses. After that they undergo continuing professional development, so that their skills are always up to date.
  • Very importantly, they know how to spot the signs of serious illness and will refer you to a doctor or other suitable health care professional for a check-up or for treatment if necessary.
  • Aside from the pharmacist, every member of a pharmacy team undergoes regulated training to provide an effective service and keep you safe.
  • You have always been able to get prescription medicines, urgent care for common illnesses, lifestyle support and medicines advice to help you manage your long-term medicinal conditions. The NHS has built on this, with new services such as blood pressure checks for the over 40s and expanded support for people with Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis, among other conditions.
  • Pharmacists are supported by a team of trained staff working under their direct supervision.

They can include:

  • Pharmacy technicians – skilled members of the pharmacy team who prepare, dispense and supply and issue a range of medicines to patients
  • Accredited checking technicians, who are specially trained to undertake accuracy checks of medicines
  • Dispensing assistants, who support the pharmacist in the management of dispensary stock
  • And Medicines counter assistants, who provide a range of essential functions to support the rest of the team.

We hope you have learned a lot more about how pharmacies can support your health care needs. 

Most of the time your local pharmacy team will be able to give you whatever advice and treatment you need, but sometimes they will refer you to a doctor or a nurse for further help.  For example, if they spot something that indicates there might be a serious underlying condition that requires further investigation. 

They are also trained to spot so-called ‘red flag symptoms’ and it is quite common for pharmacists to signpost you to fellow health care professionals or even make formal referrals into NHS care pathways. 

So, for NHS services, convenient access to medicines, support for healthy living and prompt clinical advice, Ask Your Pharmacist!

Find your local pharmacy