Think Pharmacy First: Loads of knowledge right on your doorstep

Pharmacies have come a long way from the days when they were just a little shop dispensing pills and plasters – but many people do not yet realise what a helpful and knowledgeable service they have sitting right on their doorstep, the Stoke Sentinel reports.

We have been talking to four local pharmacists across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to find out about what it takes to be a pharmacist, what they like about their jobs and most importantly how the local pharmacist can give you the advice you need and help make you better.

In Stoke-on -Trent we talked with pharmacist Ernie Amoako, a married dad-of-two, working at Miltons Chemists, in Campbell Place.

He says: "People are usually totally surprised when they find out what services pharmacies can provide.

"We are much more than just shopkeepers – and we always get a good reaction from customers as we are trusted and accessible. You can just walk in off the street without an appointment and get help.

1 in 4 London pharmacies at risk of closing, says Royal Pharmaceutical Society

A quarter of local pharmacies across London could close due to proposed cuts by NHS England, London Live reports.

That's according to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society who've urged the government to reverse the cost-saving measures, saying that it's local communities and A&E wards that could be hit the hardest.

Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer said: "Community pharmacy is a vital part of the health and care system, and that's why we are consulting on changes that will better integrate pharmacy into the NHS.”

46 Leeds pharmacies ‘face axe under cuts plan’

New fears have been raised that up to 46 of Leeds’s pharmacies could be forced to close under new Government measures, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

Ministers announced earlier this year that they want to cut funding for community pharmacies by £170 million under new contract arrangements, with the reduced budget taking effect from October.

In Leeds, 46 of the 185 services that are currently open in the city are feared to be under threat. The matter will be debated at today’s monthly full council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall.

Pharmacy visits urged by NHS

A recent survey carried out by YouGov has shown that more than 50 per cent of people in the district, as well as in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, would look for advice from a pharmacist should they feel unwell during weekends and bank holidays, the North Somerset Times reports.

The figure comes as a boost to the NHS which has been encouraging people to use pharmacies more often as a way of easing the pressure on creaking A&E departments, with 46 per cent of the people surveyed saying they believe visiting A&E unnecessarily and missed GP appointments are the main reasons for the A&E struggles.

Dr Mary Backhouse, chief clinical officer at North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s really good to see that the message is reaching patients and that they are aware that pharmacists can give advice on a range of health complaints.

“The minor injuries units are also open over bank holidays such as Easter and are often a more appropriate place for patients with non-life threatening health conditions.”

Gaffe reveals cyberattack risk to NHS  

The NHS and care homes have unique vulnerabilities to hacking and data breaches, according to a confidential government report accidentally revealed by a civil servant, The Times reports.

Cybersecurity is vastly different across 40,000 hospitals, GPs’ surgeries and care homes, while the sheer number of health staff makes data breaches more likely, according to an official document seen being carried into the cabinet office.

New data security standards will be set for the NHS as ministers act on two reports into how the health service deals with sensitive patient information, the document stated.