A REGIONAL MSP is encouraging Borderers to think ‘pharmacy first’ when in need of professional health advice.

Paul Wheelhouse, SNP member for South Scotland, is urging constituents not to take up the time of GPs unless it is necessary.

And he has been visiting local chemists to find out more about the services they offer.

Mr Wheelhouse told us: “Community pharmacies are really important assets to any town.

“I have seen first-hand just how much support they’re able to offer – whether that’s providing advice or treatment, or just signposting people to the right NHS services. It’s important to remember that you don’t need an appointment to see a pharmacist so it really is far more convenient for patients, while at the same time, frees up valuable time for our GPs to treat other patients.

“I absolutely urge constituents to take advantage of their local pharmacies.”

George Romanes, who is a pharmacist in the region, added: “We have a network of 1257 community pharmacies in Scotland, all of them offering health and clinical services right in the heart of Scotland’s communities, often six days a week and on a walk-in basis.

“Hundreds of thousands of people pass through the doors of community pharmacies across Scotland each year, and we need to ensure we are doing all we can to get the message out to people to make use of pharmacists and their teams.”