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Just 6 per cent would choose pharmacy for healthy living advice

Respondents to the Ipsos Mori poll were more likely to turn to Google or Wikipedia than pharmacy for healthy living advice

Respondents to the Ipsos Mori poll were three times more likely to turn to Google or Wikipedia than pharmacy for healthy living advice

Only 6 per cent of people in England would contact a pharmacist for healthy living advice, a survey has suggested.

The face-to-face survey of 1,625 people, conducted by market research company Ipsos Mori in June, found that 57 per cent would contact a GP or nurse if they wanted information on quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, eating healthily or exercising more.

The NHS and the internet were also more popular options than pharmacy, with 18 per cent saying they would turn to either for advice, according to the study published by Public Health England on Friday (August 8).

The profession also ranked poorly as a source of information for threats to health, such as infectious diseases, health emergencies and poisons, the survey revealed. Only 3 per cent said they would use pharmacy, compared to 39 per cent who would visit a GP or nurse and 17 per cent who would go online.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott labelled the figures "disappointing", but said he was not surprised the public turned to GPs and nurses as their first port of call.

"We know that people ideally like to see their GP but we are increasingly focused on ways to expand the public's horizons about what the pharmacy team can do. Pharmacy teams can help too, ensuring their communities are aware of the advice and knowledge they can offer," he told C+D.

The survey revealed that pharmacy was seen as a reliable source of health advice, with 57 per cent saying they trusted it "a fair amount" – the same proportion as for NHS bodies and the Department of Health. Twenty seven per cent said they trusted pharmacy "a great deal" while 10 per cent did not trust the sector "at all", Ipsos Mori said.

Last month, a YouGov survey commissioned by Pharmacy Voice showed that only a third of people considered community pharmacy to be a primary care provider.


Who would you contact if you wished to get information on how to stay healthy?

57% Doctor/GP/nurse

18% The NHS

18% Website, eg Google, Wikipedia

7% NHS Choices

6% Pharmacy/chemist

6% Department of Health

5% Friend/relative/work colleague

5% I would not want any information

4% Local hospital/clinic

4% Don't know

3% A charity/voluntary organisation

2% I would not know who to contact

1% Gym/personal trainer

1% Public Health England/PHE

1% My local authority/council

1% Local service in my community

Source: Public awareness and opinion survey, Public Health England, conducted June 2014, published August 8

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How can the sector better promote its public health role?

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N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

One interesting finding is

6% Pharmacy/chemist
6% Department of Health

So people equate us to DoH, that's probably why they don't seek our advice for health problems. Also this means people don't think Department of Health can help them provide health related advice either :-))

Who does these surveys and what sort of public are selected for these surveys.

This survey can be interpreted as follows

1. There is a great potential to explore Pharmacy services and DoH needs to take immediate steps to utilise Pharmacies in reducing burden on other healthcare professionals and save money for NHS.


2. Pharmacies are not capable of delivering services, as people don't consider them to be capable of handling their health issues. So let us not provide any Pharmacy based services and keep spending more and more on other healthcare professionals.

I don't think anyone here is in favour of option 2.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The survey is based on peoples perception than what they do in reality. 90% of these people who said they would go elsewhere, end up in the Pharmacy for advice and sometimes even demand treatment. I say so because of the following well known facts

1. They can't get an appointment with the GP for days.

2. They don't know when & where the nurse is.

3. NHS ?? Seriously? Who is NHS ?? By the time they even get hold of one responsible person even over the phone, they would end up in hospital.

4. Websites -- even the GPs use it to find a solution :-) But again all the advice follows with a disclaimer ... seek advice from your GP or Pharmacist. SO the rest you can where they will go to.

5. NHS Choices -- Refer point No. 4.

So that leaves US and DoH. Which means logically, despite having an inclination to seek advice from GPs/ Nurses/ others they end up in the Pharmacy and get the advice they need.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Read this story in BBC and decide

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

No surprises there. This is why NHS should roll out national Minor Ailment Scheme, Independent prescribing for antibiotics/ common illnesses etc. Also NHS needs to SPEND on marketing Pharmacy as a PROFESSION to get health advice. It is like calling O2 (NHS) and saying my phone is not working. Then they will put you through to the right department (software problem, hardware problem, problem with SIM etc) But here, GPs/ Nurses are seen as the first line of call as they are marketed as Health Care PROFESSIONALS and they have the power to prescribe and not pharmacists.

Also, this is a reason why all those 51% supporting another topic on NMS, should get off their B Sides and engage with patients, to spread the news that we do have equivalent knowledge to handle their health issues and not just do tick box exercise.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

what really hurts is ranking lower than NHS choices, but really it isnt surprising given how little publicity we get from the NHS about our services, and how mediocre our representative bodies are at generating media interest.
The other factor is the number of Pharmacists who still wont come out of the dispensary and talkt to patients on a regular basis.

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