Health chiefs are urging the Manx public to ‘Think Pharmacist First’ if they require treatment for what they describe as ‘less serious’ health conditions over the Christmas and New Year period.
Medication for a range of complaints is available directly from community pharmacists without having to see a GP first.
Pharmacy services are available every day of the week including holidays – even on Christmas Day - and there is no need to make an appointment.
Under the island’s minor ailments scheme a total of 16 different treatments can be supplied direct to the patient, covering 14 different conditions.
An estimated 1,500 people will use the scheme in the current year, accessing treatment straight away and relieving pressure on GP surgeries.
Patients who are normally exempt from prescription charges are also exempt under the scheme.
The minor ailments scheme started in 2008 but earlier this year an extended version was launched by the Isle of Man Pharmacy Contractors’ Association in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care.
Maria Bell, pharmaceutical adviser at the department, said: ‘An important part of the health and social care strategy for the island is to ensure that care is provided in the right place and at the right level within the community, and the minor ailments scheme is a good example of that strategy in action.
‘The scheme is easier and quicker for the patient, but it’s also better for the health service overall as it frees up GPs’ time for those patients who need their attention.’
Maria added: ‘When Thinking Pharmacist First people should also check their medicine cupboards and make sure they have what they might need over the holiday period.’
The Manx Independent includes comprehensive details of which out-of-hours pharmacies are open every week on page 2.
The next edition of the paper will be available on Christmas Eve.