Make your pharmacy your first choice - in sickness and in health

Residents are being reminded that pharmacists can dispense good advice and health checks along with prescriptions at chemists throughout Islington.

Helping residents choose the right treatment will reduce the burden on GPs and A&E departments, which have come under pressure this winter.

Flexible opening hours and a high street presence, mean pharmacies are often the first port of call for residents presenting with a variety of ailments. Men in particular, are more likely to visit a pharmacy than a GP surgery.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council's executive member for health and wellbeing said: 

"I welcome the knowledgeable and friendly advice community pharmacies give to the local residents as a first port of call. 

"It's very much part of reducing the pressure on GPs and A&Es by getting residents to choose the right treatment option and pharmacies are well-placed to do this.

"Pharmacists can be crucial in providing both common sense advice on minor ailments like headaches or colds as well as health checks for more serious conditions that contribute to health inequality in our borough.

"And it's still not too late to get your flu jab if you are in an at-risk group."

As well as helping patients to better understand and improve their use of medicines with an annual review, 43 pharmacies are offering free treatment for minor ailments (if exempt from paying a prescription charge) without having to see their GP.  

Services include seasonal flu vaccine to at-risk patients and stop smoking advice.  200 people successfully quit smoking last year with the help of their community pharmacy in Islington.

Throughout 2015, Healthy Living Pharmacies will be rolled out with staff trained and accredited to pro-actively offer advice on healthy lifestyles and a range of health issues.

Pharmacist Manager Elena Alexandrou of Dermacia Pharmacy in Upper St, N1 said: 

"As a community pharmacy, we build up a relationship with customers so when they collect their prescriptions we can have a chat, pick up other problems as well and suggest lifestyle changes and health checks."

Wojtek Bereza, Superintendent at Douglas Pharmacy, Ritchie St, N1 said:

"It's important pharmacies use their location and the customer knowledge they have to help promote health as well as dispensing prescriptions."

45% of people who go to a pharmacy, don't go to a GP.  But early intervention is key to getting a better prognosis for a variety of health conditions from depression, obesity, persistent colds, diabetes to high blood pressure.

Pharmacies display leaflets and posters to provide information on choosing the right treatment, health checks and screening, wellbeing and lifestyle advice.

Islington residents can now use their mobile to find the right NHS service for their illness or injury.

The free Choose Well North London app can locate the nearest health centre, GP practice, pharmacist or hospital across north London. It can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Notes to editors

Other services your pharmacy may offer include: *Emergency supply of prescription medicines (this may be subject to non-NHS charges) *Sexual Health advice including provision of emergency contraception (‘morning-after pill’) *Substance misuse services *Health Checks *Medicines Reminder Devices (‘blister packs’) *Palliative care medicines *Home delivery of medicines For further information see or ask your pharmacist. NHS Islington Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting the national 'Choose welll' health campaign.

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.