When Carys Spencer started working at her local Pharmacy as a teenager, little did she know she’d one day become the Community Pharmacist in the very same store.

Starting as a Saturday girl at 15 years old, Carys saw the impact the community pharmacist at Pontyclun Pharmacy had on people’s lives, and it was that that inspired her to take up the profession.

11 years later, after pursuing a degree in Pharmacy, Carys still works at the chemist, managing medications and looking after the community of Pontyclun.

“I enjoy being a community pharmacist because you get to know the community and you are able to follow up progress,” says Carys. “I know my patients and I know their medications and I’m a familiar face for them in the community.”

As a pharmacist Carys is able to help with a wide range of medical issues. From checking medications are safe and correct for a patient, to giving advice on minor illnesses and ailments, the service is a quick and easy way for local people to access professional advice.

Carys, who has lived in Pontyclun all her life, said: “Pharmacists are well placed in the community to offer on the spot advice. You’re unlikely to wait more than a few minutes to speak to a qualified member of staff.

“We always do our best to solve the problem you walk in with on the day. We’re able to give advice on anything you can think of, from colic to aches and pains and constipation.

“Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals and we are experts in medication. If you have questions about your prescription medicines, if you have questions about the side effects or how to use your medication, we’re able to talk to you about those as well as giving advice on any over the counter medicine you may wish to buy.”

Carys loves her job, working as part of the local primary care team and says she finds it enormously rewarding:

“The best part of being a pharmacist is being able to help people. I enjoy feeling like I make a difference to people’s lives and find it really rewarding to give people advice on medical conditions and lifestyle changes. It’s particularly rewarding to help people when they’re coming out of hospital to make sure they’re on the correct medication now that they’re back home and to support them to take that medication correctly.”

Some pharmacies now offer specialist services such as stop smoking advice, emergency contraception, sore throat testing, and flu vaccines.  Pharmacists are also able to provide free medications for certain conditions under the common ailments scheme.

Carys added: “We know a little bit about everything and I’d feel confident giving advice to anyone who walks through the door. My advice to people is come and see us, give us a chance and you’ll get professional advice.”

Pharmacists are just one of the primary care services available to people close to home.

To find out more about service available to you through #YourLocalTeam visit cwmtafmorgannwg.wales or follow #YourLocalTeam on social media.

From Saturday girl to lead Pharmacist – Carys Spencer, Pharmacist
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