There are all sorts of reasons that patients avoid going to see their doctor or local pharmacist. It could be down to a fear of the unknown, a predilection for burying their head in the sand, or simply a lack of time and a busy lifestyle. What is absolutely certain though is that there is just no substitute for having a proper consultation with a healthcare professional.
There is no information or guidance you can find on the internet, or by using a self-testing health kit, that will give you the detail and advice you need. The value of an individual conversation and assessment with a GP or pharmacist is irreplaceable.
We understand that some consumers value the privacy and convenience of the self-test kits. Being able to use the product in the comfort of your home can be appealing, but it ultimately can’t tell you everything you need to know. I have friends who still feel embarrassed to seek out medical advice and I’m sure we’ve all heard people say ‘I don’t want to cause a fuss or waste anyone’s time’.
On our LloydsPharmacy website, we do sell some of these products – and I actually believe that some home screening kits can play a useful role in the early stages of self-assessment, but they mustn’t be used in place of a real diagnosis.
As healthcare professionals, part of our responsibility is to encourage and empower our patients to take more control managing their own health. In fact, self-care is going to play a vital role in the future of healthcare in this country. However, we need to balance this with what is clinically appropriate for our patients.
That’s why, it’s so important that we continue to reinforce this message with our customers and patients. Whether they are purchasing online or in one of our pharmacies, we have an opportunity to remind them that nothing can substitute for the expertise and peace of mind that a pharmacist or GP can offer.