The NHS wants to encourage everyone to use their local pharmacy as a first port of call for all minor ailments, using a new TV campaign that turns everyday pains into overblown Hollywood dramas.

The ‘Help Us, Help You – Get It Seen To’ has been created by M&C Saatchi and uses horror, rom-com and action movie themes in a tongue-in-cheek way.

It emphasises that many are being too dramatic seeing their minor issues as reason to visit a GP or A&E.

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In 2018 health official revealed that up to 17 million hospital visits were unnecessary, putting undue strain on already struggling emergency departments in British hospitals. The same has also been regularly reported in the case of GPs.

The TV campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the availability of free, private consultations in thousands of high street chemists, is matched by an OOH campaign.

Three film-style posters will be visible in pharmacies, GP surgeries and other healthcare centres, and activity extends to PR and social.

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The health service wants to communicate directly that community pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice, and refer people to a GP or A&E where necessary.

The wider ‘Help Us, Help You’ strategy which this campaign falls under has been running for three years.

Phil Bastable, Head of Marketing at NHS England, said: “This phase of the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign is a really important one.

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Community pharmacists are invaluable NHS experts, often underutilised because not everybody understands how qualified they are to help.

“This year we’re asking the public to ‘take the drama out of minor illnesses’ with an exciting new campaign creative, that we hope will really cut through and change behaviour.”

Mark Goodwin, Deputy Joint Executive Director at M&C Saatchi, said:

“Pharmacists are the unsung heroes of our medical services. So it’s great to give them a starring role as frontline experts.”