A pharmacy in St Albans is asking residents to stop and think before visiting their GP or A&E after statistics revealed that an estimated 50 million people visit their GP with minor ailments each year.

St Albans Pharmacy in Cell Barnes Lane has joined a nationwide campaign, ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’, to help save time and reduce pressures on NHS services in the city.

The campaign is part of the All About Health programme, which promotes healthy living in the community.

Jaymini Vibhakar, St Albans pharmacist, said minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema and athlete’s foot were just some of the complaints people visited their GP about.

She said this cost the NHS £2 billion every year which simply was not sustainable.

Ms Vibhakar said: “Many people don’t realise their local pharmacy can support with a number of minor ailments. “We want to help locals manage their health effectively so when they feel under the weather we’re asking people to visit their local pharmacy as a first port of call. She continued:

“Mums are often the ones who look after the health of the family by ensuring the medicine cabinet is topped up, dishing out medication to poorly children and taking children to health appointments. When time is short it’s important to be able to access healthcare advice quickly.

“Pharmacy is well placed to offer information and support when making health decisions. Children’s fever, coughs and colds, ear ache and sprains are just some of the ailments we can offer expert advice and treatment for. With no appointment necessary this can be a convenient source of help for parents who are looking for speedy reassurance and support for their little ones. “