Patients can get easily accessible, timely and professional health advice from their local community pharmacist, says Pharmacy Guild President Karen Crisp, in reaction to current news reports that hospital emergency departments are being swamped by patients with ‘minor ailments’.
“Pharmacists are qualified health professionals who can assess patients’ needs and will refer them on to a GP, or the hospital, where appropriate,” said Ms Crisp.
“Some of the conditions that pharmacists are able to treat include urinary tract infections, fungal infections, minor wounds, sports injuries, migraines, eye infections, digestive problems, as well as many skin conditions and coughs and colds.”
A Lakes District Health Board (DHB) study last year reportedly showed that just over half of people who went to the hospital could have gone to a GP, and many DHBs have run campaigns recently that remind patients to use the emergency department for emergencies only.
It has been suggested that the reason many New Zealanders are resorting to visiting the hospital for minor ailments is because of rising poverty and an increase in GP’s fees.
Pharmacists are well-placed to help fulfil the Government’s strategy for “better, sooner, more convenient” primary health care as the most readily accessible healthcare professionals in your community.
Media contact – Sarah Pritchard – 04 802 8211
• The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (Inc) is a national membership organisation representing community pharmacy owners. We provide leadership on all issues affecting the sector and we advocate for the business and professional interests of community pharmacy.
• For additional information on the Guild and community pharmacy, please go to www.pgnz.org.nz.