Our local pharmacies have a lot of services that can make our lives easier as unpaid carers. So it pays to be aware of what they can do for us.
Jonathan Lloyd Jones from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, kindly took some time out of his day, to share some of the ways our local pharmacies can support us.
1. Prescription delivery service
Many pharmacies are able to offer a free delivery service for prescriptions.
As unpaid carers, this can be a great help, especially if leaving the person we care for alone is difficult. A quick google search will usually tell us if our local pharmacy can offer this service, or we can simply ask next time we’re passing.
If getting to the pharmacy is a specific challenge for us, then there are some online pharmacies that can also support with home delivery. Such as, Pharmacy2U who we can order repeat prescriptions from, with free delivery on all NHS prescriptions. And in London, there is Phlo, an app that let's us chat with a pharmacist and order prescriptions from our own home.
Alternatively, the ‘Patient Access’ app (available on both iOS and Androids) allows us to easily request repeat prescriptions to our local pharmacy.
2. Use of patient consultation rooms
Many pharmacies now have their own consultation rooms available. These are private spaces where we can ask to speak to the pharmacist about a range of different things. It's worth checking whether we can also have consultations over the phone.
From asking questions about the medication we’re ordering, to weightloss clinics, diabetes checks and flu vaccinations. These are just a few of the things we can be accessing through our pharmacist. And potentially saving us the pain of booking another doctor’s appointment.
“My pharmacist has saved me from having a stroke - I had a headache I could not shift with shooting pains like a needle being poke into my head. The pain became unbearable so I went to the pharmacist. He took my blood pressure and insisted I go to the surgery (he phoned them before I got there). My medication was no longer working effectively and it took a while for my blood pressure to settle down. I will always be grateful to my pharmacist as he prevented me from having a stroke”
3. Flu vaccinations for carers
As unpaid carers, we're eligible for a free flu vaccination. Many local pharmacies are able to offer us our flu vaccination, saving us another trip to the doctors. Find out which pharmacies near you are offering free NHS flu vaccinations.
“My pharmacist is amazing ... he knows both mine and my mum's name. They text when prescriptions are ready and go above and beyond for us if we need advice on things and even booked us our flu jabs in”
4. Tablet organisation systems
Your pharmacist might call these multi-compartment compliance aids or a dossette box. These may be plastic pots with the days of the week on, to help us with organising medication. Or the tablets may be sealed in blister packets according to what is needed each day. They’re a way of helping us to manage complicated dosages.
Better still, we can ask our Practice Clinical Pharmacist to carry out a full structured medication review with ourselves and the person we care for, to see how life can be made easier.
5. Text messaging services
Some pharmacies are able to send us a text message when our medication is ready to pick up. Saving us phone calls or wasted trips. If this would be helpful we can simply ask our pharmacist if they offer this service and to add us.
“Our pharmacy is great, they just seem to do everything right, just a phone call and it’s done”
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