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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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a pharmacy otc imageJanuary 2 2018

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has lent its support to a GP campaign advising patients to think about OTC approaches before requesting a GP appointment.

The Royal College of General Practitioner’s launched its ‘3 before GP’ campaign on December 29. It asks patients to consider three questions patients before booking an appointment with their GP:

“Can I:

  • self-care?
  • use NHS Choices or similar reputable websites/resources?
  • seek advice/treatment via a pharmacist?”

The College said it “hopes that this simple slogan will encourage patients to think hard about whether they need to see a GP during another busy winter period for general practice – or if they can deal with the problem in a different way.” Research by the Primary Care Foundation in 2015 claimed that 27% of GP consultations were potentially avoidable.

Interviewed about the campaign on BBC Radio Wiltshire, RPS spokesperson Neal Patel said: “Pharmacists are the experts on medicines and can help people with both questions about winter bugs as well as concerns about side effects of prescription medicines.

“Crucially, pharmacists can help you decide when that worrying symptom is something you can manage yourself or when you should seek help, which is especially important over the holidays when your GP surgery may be closed.”

RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “The ‘3 before GP’ mantra is a simple and easy way to help reduce the strain on general practice, and we hope it will enable GPs to spend more time with patients who have complex health issues and are most in need of our expert help.”

She added: “We’re used to pharmacists dispensing prescribed medication or being somewhere we go to buy over the counter medication, but it is easy to forget what a brilliant source of advice and wisdom they can offer the population which is why we can include them in this list.”

PAGB, the trade body representing OTC manufacturers, has welcomed the RCGP’s “excellent advice”. Donna Castle, PAGB Director of Public Affairs and Communications, said: “By looking after ourselves and our families in this way, we can all help make sure GP appointments are available when they are really needed.

“There is a wide range of medicines and treatments available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets which can offer relief from common self-treatable conditions, such as coughs, colds, indigestion and allergies. If you need advice or aren’t sure which medicine is suitable for your symptoms, the NHS Choices website has useful, reliable information or your local pharmacist can provide expert advice and support.”

Links:
RCGP announcement    
RPS comment
PAGB comment                  

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