A county councillor visited a local pharmacy to see the crucial work it is doing to help residents this winter.

Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset County Council cabinet member for health and care, visited Victoria Park Pharmacy on Maud Road, Dorchester, to hear about the work the team are doing in Dorset as temperatures plummet. 

Cllr Haynes heard how local pharmacies are helping to get residents vaccinated against flu, and about the advice and support they can give people when they have coughs, colds or other symptoms, as an alternative to them visiting their GP.

During the visit, Cllr Haynes discussed various services with the pharmacy team and had a cardiovascular test. She also heard about how community pharmacies are aiming for a record year for flu vaccinations. 

She said: “As we approach the winter months, all NHS and social care services are working harder than ever to manage the increasing demand for healthcare. 

“I am keen to ensure the council does all that it can to help develop community pharmacy services that meet the needs of both local patients and health and care services.”

Pharmacist Robin Mitchell told Cllr Haynes how the pharmacy is preparing for winter and trying to support local GP practices. They discussed the impact that pharmacy services can have on the NHS. in helping to reduce pressure on local healthcare services.

Robin said: “This winter community pharmacies are going to be needed more than ever. 

“We are the first port of call for many local people on healthcare matters and our regular patients and the wider community really rely on us. This is particularly the case over the winter months with coughs, colds and flu all becoming more common, and GP practices and hospitals already working flat out.

"As well as making sure everyone has the medicines they need this winter we’ll be helping people to understand and make the most of those medicines, and offer advice on common ailments.

"We can also vaccinate people against flu, if they are eligible for a free NHS flu jab. And all of this without the need to wait for an appointment.”

Robin said that pharmacies are doing more than dispensing medicine this winter, offering a range of help services to residents.

He added: “We’re really proud of how our local pharmacies have been doing with the NHS flu vaccination service, helping to make sure that everyone who needs the vaccine, gets it. 

“We believe the Government should be making even better use of pharmacies. We would love to offer even more services to help local people to stay healthy, and reduce pressure on other local healthcare services.”