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6 things you didn’t know your pharmacist could do

You can get your doctor’s certificate from the chemist now for starters.

Photo: iStock

Getting an appointment at the doctor’s office can sometimes feel like pulling teeth. When you’re busy the doctor’s free or vice versa. It never really seems to line up; and when you do go it’ll cost you upwards of $30 after your Medicare rebate.

Don’t even get us started on the wait times at walk-in clinics.

What you probably don’t know is that there is a lot your pharmacy can do instead of your usual doctor. They can issue you a sick certificate, check your blood pressure results and even administer vaccinations.

Of course, it’s always advisable to call your pharmacy ahead of time to see if they can perform the service – but you’ll find that most community pharmacies can do the following.

1. Issue sick certificates

Most pharmacies can issue legal sick certificates (or often known as absence from work certificates) for sick leave absences from work and school. Simply bring a form of ID along with any medications you may be taking into your local pharmacy.

The pharmacist on duty will assess you and provide a leave certificate if they deem you eligible for one, and provide advice on your illness. This is especially convenient if you’re not able to get an appointment with your GP or short on time. Be sure to call your local pharmacy first to make sure they offer this service.

2. Safe disposal of expired and unwanted medicines

It is estimated that there are millions of medicines sitting in Australian homes either out-of-date or no longer needed. Storing large amounts of medicines pose a huge danger of accidental poisonings and medication mismanagement.

The good news is there is a free and convenient way to dispose of expired and unwanted household medicines by returning them to any pharmacy, at any time. The service is called Return Unwanted Medicines – or the RUM Project. After you return medicine to pharmacy, the pharmacist will put them in a secure bin for safe and environmentally friendly disposal.

For more information on Return Unwanted Medicines, visit returnmed.com.au or talk to your local pharmacist.

3. Vaccinations

Pharmacists who have undertaken an accredited vaccination training course can offer flu vaccinations, which has been increasingly important this past flu season. Plus, pharmacies in certain states also offer whooping cough vaccinations. Check in with your local pharmacy to confirm they offer this service.

4. Manage scripts

If you’ve got a habit of losing or misplacing your script after filling your prescription medicine, this one is for you. Your pharmacist can keep your script repeats safe, meaning no unnecessary second visit to the GP.

5. Wound care

Kitchen accident? Sports injury? Pharmacists have a significant amount of training and experience in providing advice and treatment of minor wounds like cuts, grazes, sunburns and minor burns. However, if you suffer a serious wound, it’s important to seek treatment from a doctor instead.

6. Health checks

Most pharmacies have fully trained pharmacists who can conduct health checks and provide results on your BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels which will help identify your risk factors for diseases like diabetes.

Check with your local pharmacy about whether an appointment is necessary.

Dr Shaun Redd, President of the Australian Medical Association Queensland has the answers for the most common questions asked regarding vaccinating children.

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