Nearly 60% of people would be more likely to use the new Pharmacy First service if they better understood how ‘qualified’ teams are to support with minor conditions, research by Superdrug has suggested.

The survey, conducted by Superdrug among 937 of its store card members, also found that almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents would use Pharmacy First if they could get a prescription quicker, while 67% would consider using it if the services that pharmacists can offer was made clear.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) also said they would consider using the service if there was a private consultation room available – something which is already a requirement of the scheme.

As part of the survey, the public was asked what would make them more willing to talk to their pharmacist about minor health conditions – to which 59% said: ‘If I was clear about how qualified they are to be able to help me.’

The results of the survey shed light on public perceptions of Pharmacy First on the eve of its rollout in England on 31 January.

While 85% said they positively welcome the introduction of the service, the responses suggest that education is needed around the health conditions it supports.

For example, a third (32%) of respondents had not heard of impetigo, and nearly a quarter (23%) had not heard of sinusitis. Meanwhile, 18% had not heard of shingles and 15% had not heard of a urinary tract infection.

Community Pharmacy England recently stressed the need for increased public awareness of the new service, publishing various resources for promotion purposes.

Niamh McMillan, Superdrug’s pharmacy superintendent, said: ‘Pharmacy First is an excellent opportunity for pharmacists to utilise their skills and support the health of their local community with this new service.’

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association, believes the Pharmacy First remit could be widened in the future.

He said: ‘We are confident the sector will deliver the service successfully and make a strong case for its future expansion to cover further common conditions.’