NHS figures show more people are seeking advice from pharmacists on their medicines
The National Pharmacy Association has welcomed the release of NHS figures showing that more people are seeking advice from pharmacists on their medicines. But a new National Pharmacy Association survey suggests that the majority of people are still unaware of the free NHS support available at community pharmacies through services like Medicines Use Reviews and the New Medicine Service.
Figures released by the National Information Centre show that 2.1 million Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) were conducted by community pharmacies in England in 2010-11, compared to 1.7 million in 2009-10.
A survey conducted by the National Pharmacy Association however found that 73% of people do not know that Medicines Use Reviews are available free on the NHS in pharmacies. MURs have been offered since 2005 and offer people taking two or more prescribed medicines for a long term condition a personal NHS consultation with a pharmacist to improve their understanding of their medicines to get the maximum benefit from them. This can in turn help to reduce medicine waste – a problem which costs the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds each year.
Similarly, 80% of people do not know that the New Medicine Service (NMS) is an NHS service. The NMS, which was launched in community pharmacies in England in October, is aimed at people who have been newly prescribed a medicine to thin their blood, for type 2 diabetes, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or high blood pressure. Lots of people find they have problems when they start a new medicine, the NMS helps to sort these problems out from day one with the help of a pharmacist, so you stay well.
Mike Holden, Chief Executive at the National Pharmacy Association said:
“Pharmacies are on the NHS frontline, but too many people are oblivious to the free, NHS support they can get there. There is good awareness that pharmacies are places to go to pick up prescriptions and this is backed up by figures which show that 850.7 million prescription items were dispensed by pharmacists in England in 2010-2011. But pharmacies offer a package of care, not just a packet of pills. Pharmacists are available without appointment and are a good first port of call for the vast majority of health concerns.”
For more information on what services are available at community pharmacies, visit www.askyourpharmacist.co.uk.
For further information, please contact the NPA Press Office on 01727 795901 or 07920 203051, or email .
The NPA is the UK’s leading trade body for community pharmacy. Its core purpose is to represent, support and protect the interests of all community pharmacy across the UK.