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Take sick children to pharmacies first, parents told

From BBC - February 11, 2018

Parents of young children with minor illnesses should take them to pharmacies rather than GPs or A&E, a new NHS England campaign says.

It follows a survey which found just 6% of parents with under-fives would go to a pharmacist first.

NHS England said visits to GPs and A&E for these "self-treatable" conditions, like stomach ache, cost 850m a year.

But parents should not be put off seeing a doctor, a patients' group said.

GPs' leaders said parents of children with a very high temperature that does not go away should still seek help from a medical expert.

'Skilled clinicians'

NHS England's Stay Well Pharmacy campaign is urging people to visit their local pharmacist first to help save the service money and free up time for the sickest patients.

It said each year there were about 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E for so-called self-treatable conditions - costing the service the equivalent of more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations.

Its survey of more than 2,000 people in England found 35% of parents of children under five would go to a GP if their child had a minor illness, such as earache, diarrhoea or stomach ache, while 5% would go directly to A&E.

The NHS survey also found that only 16% of adults would go to a pharmacist first if they were similarly unwell.

Dr Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, said: "Pharmacists are highly trained NHS health professionals who are able to offer clinical advice and effective treatments for a wide range of minor health concerns right there and then.

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