County Durham is well served by community pharmacies – but more work is needed to make people aware of the services they offer, according to a report.

The document states that the area has an above average supply of community pharmacies, including a good distribution of outlets offering extended and weekend opening hours.

The findings, included in a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment published by Durham County Council, are backed up by research which found that 93 per cent of people in the county felt they could easily access pharmacy services.

The report also highlights the range of services provided by pharmacies in the area and states that this could be increased but that this is reliant on making residents aware of what pharmacies offer.

Representatives from the Local Pharmaceutical Committee for County Durham and Darlington will describe the broad range of services pharmacies in the area provide and discuss how they plan to promote services when they attend the next meeting of the area’s Health and Wellbeing Board, which meets tomorrow (Friday, 25 May).

Cllr Lucy Hovvels, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “Pharmacies play an essential role in our communities, often providing safe havens for individuals to seek help and advice from trusted professionals.

“Pharmacy staff tend to reflect the background of the residents they serve and, therefore, are well placed to play a key role in supporting people to stay well and manage common conditions themselves. This can ease pressure on already stretched GP practices and A&E departments.

“I would strongly encourage everyone to use their local pharmacy as a first point of call for advice and treatment for minor health concerns.”