The large majority of the public trust their pharmacists, a survey has found.
Almost nine in 10 people said they either trust the information they receive from a pharmacist “a great deal” or “a fair amount”.
The use of pharmacies is high with almost 80% polled saying they have visited a pharmacy “at least once” in the past 12 months. The majority visited a national chain or supermarket with 40% visiting an independent pharmacist.
Less than one in ten people said they would contact a pharmacist when requiring information about flu vaccines compared to 76% who said they would contact their GP or GP surgery.
More than 60% of those seeking advice on medicines would contact their GP, but 40% would consider pharmacists their main source of information in this area.
Concerns over familiarity and trust with pharmacists seemed to be a reason why pharmacists are not visited for advice by a small minority of people, with 36% saying they usually go to their GP or GP surgery “out of habit”.
Chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, Duncan Rudkin, said: “The role of pharmacy, and the knowledge and skills required of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, have changed in the last few decades.
“It continues to evolve and regulation needs to keep pace with those changes. This report will therefore support our ongoing work around refocusing a number of our functions, and in particular, the development of our regulatory and pharmacy standards, our prototype inspections model and our guidance.”
More than 1,000 people were interviewed for the survey.