Public encouraged to ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ about services during awareness week

Public encouraged to ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ about services during awareness week

Community pharmacists from across Northern Ireland are encouraging the public to ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ as part of an awareness raising week on the value and importance of our local community pharmacies.

The week, an initiative by the National Pharmacy Association, is an opportunity to highlight the full range of services available through community pharmacy this autumn and winter, including Covid-19 vaccination, booster jabs and the winter flu vaccination programme.

Amid increasing pressures being felt across primary care, Community Pharmacy NI is reminding the public that community pharmacies, whilst not immune to their own pressures, are an essential community health asset and can take some of the strain off other parts of the health service.

Community Pharmacy NI has recently elected west Belfast pharmacist Peter Rice as its new Chair for the next two years.

Newly elected Chair of Community Pharmacy NI, Peter Rice said:

“Coming into the role of Chair at such a crucial time for the health service, I am pleased to be able to showcase the full range of services community pharmacy is able to provide to patients. Recent months have seen the sector pivot to become the leading facilitator of Covid-19 vaccinations in Northern Ireland. We recently surpassed the 153,000-vaccine doses milestone and are providing booster jabs as part of the next vaccination phase.

“As primary care providers, we are acutely aware of local healthcare pressures and the difficulties some patients find in accessing parts of the health service.

“This Ask Your Pharmacist Week we would like to remind our patients that our community pharmacy teams are there to help.”

Vincent Harkin from Harkin’ Pharmacy in Maghera commented:

 “All year round our community pharmacists have worked hard to support patients and provide help. This year’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week presents an opportunity for us to reflect on their commitment to patient care as an essential part of our health service’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“As we move ahead into the autumn and winter, I would encourage the public to get behind the message of this year’s campaign: ‘Your local pharmacy can help’, especially with pharmacy providing a whole range of services, running alongside dispensing. We expect there to be additional flu and Covid-19 pressures in the time ahead, so it is really encouraging that the continuity of care is there, and community pharmacy will be there once again to support patients throughout.”

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