RPS backs RCGP call for patients to see a pharmacist

The RPS recommends that people should use their pharmacist as a first port of call when feeling unwell

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society took to the airwaves this morning to endorse the recommendation from The Royal College of GPs that patients should self-care, search for information about their illness online via NHS Choices and visit their pharmacist as part of a new "three before GP" mantra to ease the pressure on appointments at GP surgeries.

Neal Patel, RPS spokesperson said: "Pharmacists are the experts on medicines and can help people with both questions about winter bugs as well as concerns about side effects of prescription medicines.

"Crucially, pharmacists can help you decide when that worrying symptom is something you can manage yourself or when you should seek help, which is especially important over the holidays when your GP surgery may be closed."

Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: "We're used to pharmacists dispensing prescribed medication or being somewhere we go to buy over the counter medication but it is easy to forget what a brilliant source of advice and wisdom they can offer the population which is why we can include them in this list."

Listen to Neal this morning from 37minutes 32 seconds onwards on BBC Radio Wiltshire: