Ten facts about pharmacies. Did you know they dispense more than two million items a day?
Think you know your local pharmacy? Test yourself with these 10 facts about pharmacies in England.
- Many of England's 10,000 pharmacies are routinely open late, up to 11pm in some cases, and at weekends.
- Pharmacies in England dispensed more than 850 million items in 2010/11. That's more than two million items a day.
- In England, 99% of us are never more than 20 minutes away by car from a pharmacy.
- If you are prescribed a medicine to treat a long-term condition for the first time, you may be able to get extra advice about your medicine from your local pharmacist through a new free scheme called the New Medicine Service (NMS).
- Pharmacies aren’t the only place that dispense medicines. Some GP surgeries, mainly in rural areas, dispense them. Some large supermarkets also have in-house pharmacies.
- It takes five years to qualify as a pharmacist. During a four-year master's degree, trainee pharmacists become experts in medicines and their use. To register with The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, they must complete one year of hands-on experience, and sit an exam.
- You can ask to talk to your pharmacist privately. Many pharmacies have a private consultation room, where you can have a quiet chat about your health or medicines.
- Pharmacists can save you a trip to the GP. Your pharmacist can recognise and provide medicines for a range of common health problems, including eye infections, stomach upsets and allergies. Learn more by reading Treating common conditions.
- Pharmacies are now taking on wider roles. Many now run weekly clinics to help you lose weight, stop smoking, or to monitor blood pressure or cholesterol.
- Some pharmacies can supply less commonly needed items, such as special dressings, stoma items and colostomy bags.
Statistics taken from Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths, Delivering the Future, April 2008, Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community: Statistics 1998 to 2008, and General Pharmaceutical Services England 2001-02 to 2010-11.