PEOPLE in Gwent who are suffering from hay fever, cold sores, indigestion and other common conditions are being urged to seek help from their local pharmacist rather than their GP surgery.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is promoting the Common Ailments Service, available through community pharmacies in the area, which enables patients to have a consultation with accredited pharmacist, to receive NHS-funded advice and treatment for 27 such conditions.

The service is designed to make it easier for people to get NHS-approved treatment intended without needing to see a GP, helping free up family doctors so they can deal with patients with more serious health problems.

The following conditions are classed as 'common ailments' for the purposes of the service: The service covers the following ailments: Acne; athlete’s foot; back pain; bacterial conjunctivitis; chicken pox; cold sores; colic; constipation; diarrhoea; dry eyes; dry skin; haemorrhoids; hay fever; head lice; indigestion; in-growing toenail; intertrigo; mouth ulcers; nappy rash; oral thrush; ringworm; scabies; sore throat; teething; threadworms; vaginal thrush; warts/verrucas.

Patients wishing to use the service can go to their community pharmacy and ask to see the pharmacist for a common ailments consultation.

They should take a form of identification with them, and there may be a wait before they are seen.

A confidential consultation - with the results to be shared with the patient's GP - will last around 10-15 minutes, and patients will be provided with NHS-approved advice and/or treatment as appropriate.

If the pharmacist considers a patient’s condition to be more serious than it appears, or if the available treatment is not suitable, the patient will be referred to their GP or another healthcare professional.

Further details about the service can be found at