THE FORRES BRANCH of the national Boots chain was the latest to open its doors to a local MSP as part of an ongoing engagement programme.
Stores throughout Scotland are encouraging members of parliament to see first-hand the range of services being offered at Boots – and how the company contributes to the overall health and economic wellbeing of local communities.
Douglas Ross MSP accepted an invitation to visit his local store and chat with staff – a customer for many years but for the first time being shown just what goes on behind the counter.
“I was delighted to take up the invitation to visit the Boots pharmacy in Forres and to have the opportunity to get a better understanding of the work which goes on behind the counter,” the MSP said following his visit.
He added: “During my visit it was very apparent just how busy the pharmacy can be with a very steady number of prescriptions being prepared or issued, with staff often dispensing over 2000 items in an average week.
“There was a hive of continuous activity with staff dispensing medications and others providing information and assistance to the public. I must admit I didn’t realise the full extent of services which can be accessed at a local pharmacy.
“Peter Sharp, the store Pharmacist, told me that one of the real advantages of being able to provide additional services is that it takes some pressure away from GP surgeries, freeing up consultation time at medical practices which also allows patients to receive advice or treatment without having to wait at the surgeries.”
Such services include the provision of a ‘minor ailments service’ which can provide quicker access to treatments – and in some cases free up appointments from medical centres or hospital accident and emergency departments.
Mr Ross continued: “The wealth of knowledge and experience of the dispensing staff is clearly a great boost to the local community, with customers having access to help and advice on things like stopping smoking, medication for travelling overseas, emergency contraception, as well as the more normal services and supply of prescriptions.
“It is clear to see how such a community pharmacy can play a major role in augmenting NHS Scotland, helping to relieve the strain on acute services by providing community based services, which in the long term helps to reduce the financial burden on the NHS.
“Speaking to the staff it was clear they take a great deal of pride in offering a quality service to the local community and I know that is appreciated by the customers.”
Boots’ head of customer experience in the north east said: “Our store visit programme is a great way to show MSPs the various roles of our pharmacists in the community.
“I am really pleased that Douglas came to visit the Boots pharmacy in Forres. Community pharmacy can make a difference to the quality of life for patients, providing a service near to where people live, work and shop and I am glad he got the chance to hear more about the variety of services on offer in the local community.”
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