Residents across North Lincolnshire are being encouraged to take advantage of a free medicine advice service provided by pharmacists.
If you’re prescribed a medicine to treat a long-term condition for the first time, you may be able to get extra help and advice about your medicine from your local pharmacist through a free scheme called the New Medicine Service (NMS).
Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.
If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Paul Robinson, Chair of Community Pharmacy Humber, said: “People often have problems when they start a new medicine. As part of the scheme, the pharmacist will support you over several weeks to use the medicine safely and to best effect.
“The service is only available to people using certain medicines. In some cases where there’s a problem and a solution cannot be found between you and the pharmacist, you’ll be referred back to your doctor.
“Essentially, we want to help people become familiar with their medicine and feel as knowledgeable and as comfortable as they can be when taking it.”
How will I know if I’m eligible?
The service is only available for those who have been prescribed a new medicine for these conditions:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- For people who have been given a new blood-thinning medicine
How do I join the scheme?
When you take your new prescription to your local pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if you can take part in the service.
You can also do this by calling your pharmacy if you are currently shielding due to Covid-19. Some pharmacies are now conducting online and video consultations, too.
How does the service work?
You can talk to the pharmacist when you first start taking your medicine and ask any questions you may have about it. For example, you might want to know about side effects or how you can fit your treatment around your lifestyle.
Your second appointment:
You’ll have a follow-up appointment two weeks later, when you and your pharmacist can talk about any issues you might have experienced with the medicine. For example, if you’re not taking it regularly or are finding a tablet hard to swallow, your pharmacist can help you get back on track and work with you to find solutions to any issues.
Your third appointment:
You will have your last appointment a further two weeks later, when you can catch up with your pharmacist again to see how you’re getting on. The service then ends, but your pharmacist will always talk to you about your medicines when you need help.
Do I have to talk about my medicines over the counter in the pharmacy?
Any pharmacist providing the New Medicine Service must have a private consultation area. This is a separate room where you cannot be overheard, and most pharmacists in North Lincolnshire have one. All the discussions with your pharmacist can take place in person or by phone.
How long will each appointment take?
The appointments are designed to fit around you, but a typical consultation will take around 10-15 minutes.
If you, or somebody you know, would benefit from the New Medicines Service, contact your local pharmacy.