Over a quarter of UK pharmacists still don’t believe their skills are being properly utilised by the public, and just 5% think the UK public are aware of the level of expertise that they have, new research shows.

With the winter months fast approaching, cold and sore throat season is also looming. Many people’s first thought at the slightest hint of a sore throat or head cold is to book an appointment with their local GP. As a result of this, the average UK GP is inundated with around forty-one consultations a day, whereas pharmacists surveyed by MAC reportedly had as little as one to ten during the same time frame.

The survey also revealed that 26% of pharmacists don’t believe their skills are being properly utilised. Coupled with recent research suggesting that GPs are subject to over 13.5 million ‘unnecessary’ appointments every year, the findings highlight that the UK public have been missing out on a crucial expert resource; local pharmacists.

Experienced pharmacist Nadia Bukhari says pharmacists are a 'fantastic public resource' and that the “really are experts in medicines. She adds: “It’s fantastic that members of the public don’t need an appointment to see us. If it’s not a medical emergency, we really should be encouraging our patients and customers to always come and see us first.”

It's not just pharmacists that are highlighting the current under-use of their skills in comparison to GPs, as recent NHS figures have exposed that a shocking one million patients a week cannot get a GP appointment, and the number waiting at least a week to see their GP has risen to 56% in the last five years.