A recent survey by the National Pharmacy Association has found that public awareness of key NHS services such as the New Medicine Service and blood pressure monitoring is mixed. While the large majority of adults in the England-wide survey knew that flu jabs are available in many pharmacies, just over half were aware of the GP Community Pharmacist Consultation Service or the New Medicine Service.

According to the survey, 44% of people asked did not know that people newly prescribed a medicine for a long-term condition could access an NHS consultation in a pharmacy, while 52% did not know many pharmacies in England offer NHS or private blood pressure monitoring services.

Just over half (51%) believed that GPs can formally refer patients for same-day clinical advice from their local pharmacist about minor ailments (the Community Pharmacy Consultation Scheme) and 55% knew that the majority of pharmacies have consultation rooms – 11% more than in a similar NPA survey five years ago.

Public knowledge about flu jabs was higher, with 68% of respondents aware of the availability of flu jabs in many pharmacies.

The NPA’s head of communications, Stephen Fishwick, said that the results demonstrated that ‘there is still some way to go’ to raise public awareness of clinical services now available in pharmacies.

He added that the NPA’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week, beginning on Monday 31 October and running until 7 November, will focus on raising awareness of specific NHS services, like the New Medicine Service, rather than a more general message about pharmacy advice.

This will include a Know Your Medicines Q&A with Parkinson’s UK, chaired by journalist Rory Cellan-Jones.

The NPA said that pharmacies wishing to join in with the campaign could download assets from the NPA website, including a suite of Getting the Best from your New Medicines videos. It added that NPA members can also a practical toolkit for delivering the New Medicine Service to patients via the NPA website.