Ask your pharmacist

Alex
pharmacist talking to a woman about her medication

Things have been changing at your local pharmacy, including the introduction of a range of new NHS England services to support people who have survived a stroke or are at high risk of stroke.

Read on, to make sure you are not missing out on free of charge health care available conveniently and close to home in your local pharmacy.

The NHS Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Check Service

This service identifies people over the age of 40 who have previously not been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and refers those with suspected hypertension for appropriate management. Pharmacists promote healthy behaviours to service users and refer people identified as likely to have high blood pressure to general practice for ongoing care.

The NHS New Medicine Service

If you have any of a list of conditions (including if you’ve had a stroke or have hypertension or coronary heart disease), you can get extra advice from your pharmacy team when you start taking a new drug to manage your symptoms. New medication can be quite confusing so the pharmacist will offer support over several weeks to check you’re taking the drug correctly. You may be referred back to your GP if there’s an issue requiring a change to the prescription.

Help to quit smoking and other lifestyle / preventative support

Smoking makes you twice as likely to die if you have a stroke, and the more you smoke, the greater your risk of stroke. Community pharmacies are a great place for patients to receive advice and support on stopping smoking. In the case of someone who has had a spell in hospital, the hospital can refer patients to a community pharmacy to continue the stop smoking process that they started in hospital. Pharmacies also offer other advice on healthy lifestyles, such as losing weight.

Flu vaccinations

People with heart disease and those who have had a stroke are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. Most pharmacies now offer free flu jabs to those who are eligible such as the elderly and people with long-term conditions. Community pharmacies administered at least 4.8 million flu vaccines during the 2021/2022 flu season.

NHS Discharge Medicines Service

DMS aims to make sure that patients, when they leave hospital, understand their new medication and how to use it, and to better communicate changes to the medication with the GP and pharmacist. It includes a confidential discussion with the community pharmacist about the medication to ensure they are clear about how the drugs should be taken and used.

Pharmacy services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Scotland

All patients in Scotland registered for the Medicines: Care and Review service are entitled to a medication review. This will help identify any potential care issues but also aid suitability and selection for a serial prescription. Community pharmacy teams support people in their attempts to quit smoking. This may include prescribing of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or other smoking cessation products. Pharmacies across the country also offer flu vaccinations.

Northern Ireland

The Medicines Adherence Service in Northern Ireland will help to ensure that people at high risk of harm from poor adherence to their medication will receive tailored support to assist them to take their medicines on time and as prescribed. Pharmacies can give advice on stopping smoking and some also offer blood pressure monitoring.

Wales

Pharmacies offer services such as smoking cessation, flu vaccination and discharge medication reviews.

Other support that takes into account any new needs you may have as a result of stroke, may include signposting to mobility or mental health services.

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