Faster at the Pharmacy

26/11/2019

Developed in 2016 by Clinical Commissioning Groups in the North East and North Cumbria, My Medicines My Health attempts to reduce unnecessary pressures and strain on the NHS. Despite significant impact and savings since its introduction, there’s still a long way to go before the public is more proactive, thoughtful and responsible for their health.

After a successful previous focus on encouraging people to buy paracetamol over the counter, the time is right to refresh and refocus the campaign to make sure our message stays front of mind and in public consciousness.

The problem

In the North East and North Cumbria, the NHS is spending over £6m a year prescribing readily available medication to patients. This includes medication like paracetamol, ibuprofen, hay fever treatments and basic holiday essentials.

The net cost to the NHS of issuing a single packet of 16 paracetamol through the prescription service is £3.23. When you include GP consultation and administration costs, this rises to over £35. The exact same unbranded tablets can be bought in the supermarket for just 30p.

Rather than treating common ailments, this money could be better spent on diagnosing and treating more complex and serious health issues. In our region, the money the NHS spends prescribing paracetamol alone could pay for 222 community nurses.

The message

Our new campaign for 2019 and 2020 focuses on the bold and simple message of ‘it’s faster at the pharmacy’. Currently too many people view their GP as the quickest place to go for common illnesses and medications. What if we could make them think again by setting up the pharmacy as a faster, easier option?

Most high street or supermarket-based pharmacies are open seven days a week and offer much longer opening hours than GPs. For the public, there’s also the benefit of accessing expert healthcare advice and medication without making an appointment or sitting in a waiting room.

And while there are over the counter limitations on some medicines, for most people suffering with general issues such as headaches, aches and pains and minor illnesses, pharmacists will have you fully covered.

Supporting illustrations

To support this message, simple and human illustrations were required to communicate the simplicity and speed of visiting pharmacists instead of a GP. We worked with renowned illustrator Tom Percival, who’s also known as the author of books such as Perfectly Norman and Ruby’s Worry.

Tom’s illustrations for the campaign feature characters with symptoms ranging from aches and pains to hay fever, allergies and holiday medication. Each are designed to illustrate the ease of visiting a pharmacy compared to a GP, with visible symptoms and frustrations contrasting with the confidence and positivity of those leaving the pharmacy.

Roll out

The campaign is set to be rolled out across social media, with targeted messaging and creative across Facebook and Twitter.

There will also be direct marketing with traditional print materials distributed to over 1300 GP practices and pharmacies across the region.

If you require readily available medication for a common ailment, it’s #FasterAtThePharmacy.

Join us in helping relieve pressures and strain on the NHS! 

Download the latest campaign assets and posters at the bottom of our home page, and keep up to date via Twitter and Facebook.

For more information

Contact Ben Murphy, Marketing Manager benmurphy@nhs.net

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