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Chris visited Horton Pharmacy and Travel Clinic to hear about the work the pharmacy team are doing to help residents in Epsom to stay well.

Horton Pharmacy, Epsom – from left to right: Penny Woodgate, Community Pharmacy Surrey & Sussex, Parminder Pharmacist Owner, Chris Grayling MP for Epsom and Ewell and Sharn Pharmacist and Owner.

During the visit Chris Grayling MP spoke with patients and the pharmacy team to understand the innovative ways Horton Pharmacy engages with the local community and the high-quality health services and advice available from community pharmacies.

Pharmacist and Owner, Sharn was keen to tell Chris about how the pharmacy provides numerous public health services to help people stay well, including NHS health checks. And has two private consultation rooms. They also discussed the role of community pharmacy in taking pressure off other healthcare providers such as GPs and hospitals.

Sharn, Pharmacist and Owner commented “Community pharmacy teams are a trusted and very accessible part of primary care.  We are the first port of call for healthcare for many people and our regular patients and the wider community really rely on us.

We provide much more than a great value dispensing service – we give people information, advice and interventions without the need to wait for an appointment. Many of the services we offer, such as home delivery, are a real help to some of the most vulnerable people locally.”

Chris  commented, “As the pressure on GP practices grows, more people are turning to pharmacies when they are feeling unwell or need healthcare advice. Innovative approaches to health care at Horton Pharmacy show how community pharmacies are well placed to take on other roles, such supporting people with long-term conditions like asthma and diabetes. I am keen to try to ensure the Government works to develop community pharmacy services that meet the needs of both patients and health and social care services.”

Penny Woodgate, Community Pharmacy Surrey & Sussex said: “Community pharmacies are much more than just places to get medicines. They provide a range of NHS services and ensure local people can get face-to-face professional healthcare advice without an appointment.  We believe the Government should be making better use of this network of healthcare locations in the heart of local communities, allowing them to offer a range of additional services that would both suit patients and reduce pressure on other healthcare services.

About community pharmacy

Your local pharmacy is more than just a place to get medicines.  It provides a range of NHS services and ensures people can get face-to-face, healthcare professional advice without an appointment.

There are around 14,000 community pharmacies across the UK, so for most of us, there’s one very close by. In fact, 96% of people can get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes by walking or using public transport. Community pharmacists provide rapid access, without appointment, to a healthcare professional and offer a range of clinical and public health services. Most pharmacies now have consultation rooms, where you can talk with your pharmacist without being overheard.

You might be surprised at what pharmacies now offer: personalised medicines advice, help to quit smoking and to maintain good sexual health, treatment for common ailments, advice on preventing disease. And more.  It’s a package of care…not just packets of pills!

What’s more, pharmacies are part of the fabric of local communities.  They provide local employment and are a health and social care asset close to where people live, work and shop.