We all know how invaluable community pharmacies are in freeing up doctors’ time. But now a new scheme suggests they could ease the pressure on dentists, too – and potentially save the NHS millions of pounds.

A pilot scheme in County Durham to give patients dental and oral health advice in pharmacies was so successful that it is now being rolled out across North East England, as Dentistry reports.

Two-thirds of those given advice by pharmacists said they would definitely make changes to their oral health habits, potentially sparing them dental treatment later on. And that could save the NHS millions.

Andrew Sturrock of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Sunderland, who developed the project with Durham County Council’s public health team, said that community pharmacies were an ideal place to offer dental health advice as they are easily accessible for the public and are staffed by well-trained healthcare professionals.

Pharmacies Offer ‘Signposting Advice’

More than 1,000 patients were involved in the scheme in five community pharmacies, learning how to brush their teeth properly, which products to use, and how to look after their teeth and gums in the long term.

[su_quote cite=”Andrew Sturrock, School of Pharmacy, University of Sunderland”]We already know there are lots of people who don’t have a dentist, have phobias about dental treatment or avoid regular check-ups, especially in deprived areas. The pharmacy is certainly not taking over the dentists’ role – this is just about giving some really basic healthcare advice and signposting patients in the right direction.[/su_quote]

Some 72% said their knowledge of oral health was much better, and 64% agreed that a pharmacy was the right place to receive such advice.

Good News For All?

Offering dental and oral advice through community pharmacies may well help to alleviate some of the strain on dentists but what about the pharmacists themselves?

By increasing pharmacy workloads even further, there is an even greater need for technology that helps drive operational efficiencies, quality and patient safety.

That’s where Pharmapod comes in. Built by pharmacy professionals, the cloud-based platform supports continuous improvement through incident reporting, document management and more.

To find out more about the benefits of the software, get in touch with the team today.

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