‘Visit the chemist and free up South Holland’s GPs’

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One of the area’s most prominent doctors has said more GP appointments would be available if people would go to the chemist more often.

Dr Vindi Bhandal, chair of South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said GPs’ time would be freed up for patients with a genuine need if local pharmacists were used more often for minor ailments.

He said better use of local pharmacists would help reduce pressure on GPs.

“Patients with minor conditions, such as hayfever, coughs or colds, a rash or a minor injury, should visit their pharmacist for advice before booking to see their GP.

“You can visit any pharmacist without an appointment, you just walk in,” he added.

Pharmacists can offer advice on a range of minor conditions, and information on medications, many of which used to be prescription-only and are now available over the counter. This includes anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, antacids and minor steroid cream for rashes. If a pharmacist is unable to treat the patient they will refer them back to their GP.

Dr Bhandal added:“Nationally, minor health problems lead to around 57million GP consultations a year, and pharmacists are an important part of our local health system, offering advice and medication for minor conditions. “Patients could save themselves and their GPs time if they went to their pharmacy instead. A better use of pharmacists across Lincolnshire would doubtlessly ease pressure on local GP appointments.”