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 '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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