HALTON residents are being encouraged to consult their local pharmacist as soon as they start to feel unwell.

NHS England has launched a new campaign called ‘The earlier, the better’ to persuade people to seek advice early from their local community pharmacist or the NHS health website.

It aims to reduce the number of people requiring emergency hospital admissions with illnesses that could have been effectively treated earlier by self-care or community pharmacy services.

NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is responsible for planning and buying health services for 126,400 Halton residents at 17 GP practices is backing the campaign.

Simon Banks, chief officer of NHS Halton CCG, said: “Many people are not aware that they can get health and medicine advice from their local pharmacist. Expert help can be provided to residents for them to manage their long-term conditions or for ailments such as a bad cough, wheezing, a cold or sore throat.

“Many pharmacies have longer opening hours than the average GP practice, and most have a private consultation area. If people need to see a doctor, they will be advised accordingly.”