Local chemists 'could do more to help GPs'

Pharmacies could do more to help take the pressure off over-stretched GPs, according to a new study.

Research by Durham University has found most people in the UK live within easy walking distance of a chemist.

This, and not needing an appointment, means pharmacies are well placed to offer greater support in tackling the obesity crisis, excess drinking and smoking, the experts behind the study said.

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Pharmacies aren't just for 'toothpaste and creams'

"The government needs to make people aware of all the extended services available in a community pharmacy," Raj Patel, a chemist from Kingston told Good Morning Britain, "It's not just your toothpaste and creams."

Mr Patel supports today's recommendation by a group of experts that pharmacists take more of the weight off GPs by helping to tackle heath problems such as obesity.

He says there are already many more services available at pharmacies than people realise.

Pharmacists could help prevent deaths in 'poorest areas'

Local chemists have a particularly crucial role to play in tackling health concerns such as obesity in deprived areas where more people die of such conditions, according to the author of a new study which recommends pharmacists are empowered to deliver more public health services.

Dr Adam Todd, from Durham University's School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, led the research which found most people in the UK live within easy walking distance of a chemist.

These results show that pharmacies are well-placed in the community to deliver public health services.

This is particularly important for the poorest areas where more people die from conditions such as smoking, alcohol misuse and obesity compared to people from more affluent areas.

With easy access without patients needing to make an appointment, the results suggest there is potential for community pharmacies to deliver public health interventions to areas which need it most.

– Dr Adam Todd

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Pharmacies 'could help tackle obesity'

Almost 90% of people in the UK live within walking distance of a pharmacy, a new study found. Credit: PA

Local chemists should be allowed to do more to support GPs in tackling major public heath concerns such as obesity, according to a new study.

Research by Durham University has found almost nine out of 10 people in the UK live within a 20-minute walk of a chemist.

In highly deprived areas, closer to 100% of households are an easy walk from a pharmacy.

This accessibility, plus the lack of need for an appointment, means pharmacists are ideally placed to offer over-stretched GPs greater support on issues such as obesity, excess drinking and smoking, according to the experts behind the research.

The findings go against the often-quoted "inverse care law", which states good medical facilities are most easily available to those who need them least.

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