Dr Tony Naughton is the clinical chief officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group. He is also a practising GP at The Thornton Practice.

Pharmacists are hugely educated, vastly knowledgeable and highly skilled. Yet they are still massively underused by patients.

Your local pharmacist is very well equipped to deal with a very high percentage of issues presented to your local GP.

But because of the way we have been brought up in this country throughout the past six decades, we all know that if we have something wrong with us, that isn’t too serious, we must book an appointment with our doctor. We need to change that.

To that end, the team here at Fylde and Wyre CCG has recently developed a new service called Pharmacy+ Clinics.

This means that for a large range of minor ailments, pharmacists taking part in the scheme can quickly provide a consultation – in a private room where necessary, provide over-the-counter medicine where appropriate and, most importantly, give advice on how to treat the condition yourself if it arises again.

We now have around 30 pharmacies offering the service which is available all across Fylde and Wyre. To date 2,000 people have used the service with fewer than four per cent requiring a referral to another service.

And with 92 per cent of patients saying had they not used the service they would have visited their GP, that is more than 1,500 appointments freed up with local doctors.

With 98 per cent of patients rating the service as good or excellent, this is proving a huge success across the area and we are delighted at its progress so far.

Speaking of pharmacists, we will soon be tucking into our chocolate eggs to celebrate Easter, but it is important to remember the two bank holidays on 14 and 17 April.

If you have a repeat prescription that is set to run out around this time, don’t forget to order it in plenty of time to get your medication before the doctors closes.

And if you do find yourself in need of medical attention over the easter holidays, remember Pharmacy+ Clinics are there to help. You don’t need to go to A&E with a minor health complaint.

If you would like more information on Pharmacy+ Clinics, including a comprehensive list of pharmacies offering the service, visit www.pharmacyplus.clinic