A pharmacist helped save a teenager's life after referring him to A&E when he came in with a "sore throat".

Helen Carey, who works at the Boots in High Street, Storrington, had a mum come in to ask about her 16-year-old son, who was at home with a sore throat.

She said: "A mum came into to see me and told me she had a teenage son at home with a sore throat and was having trouble speaking and wanted to know if it was something we could help with. I asked her to bring him in so that I could see him and examine his throat.

"As soon as he walked through the door, alarm bells rang, he was holding a wastepaper bin and just drooling into it, he could barely speak."

Helen Carey referred the teenager to A&EHelen Carey referred the teenager to A&E (Image: Boots)

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Helen believes she spotted his symptoms thanks to new "pharmacy first" training, whereby pharmacies can offer patients access to more advice, treatments and some prescription medications.

“Remembering the training we had and the symptoms of epiglottitis, I told his mum to take him immediately to A&E,” Helen said.

The teen was taken to A&E in Worthing and was seen quickly by staff who decided he needed to be blue lighted to the Royal Alexandra children’s hospital in Brighton.

The teenager’s father, who did not wish to be named, said: "Subsequent tests showed a viral infection was causing his airway to swell. He was admitted to hospital overnight and received medicines and treatment.

"I can’t thank pharmacist Helen enough. In subsequent conversations she advised she knew he wasn’t well at all and needed urgent medical attention. Thank you Boots Storrington – you are a credit to the community."

 The boy's dad has since been to the pharmacy to thank Helen.

Helen said: “He told me that his son might not be here if I hadn’t referred them to the hospital straight away.”

Claire Nevinson, superintendent pharmacist at Boots, said: "Patients in England have welcomed Pharmacy First as a convenient way to access advice and treatment for a range of common minor conditions. Many consultations are held outside typical GP hours, making it easier for patients to get the care they need, when they need it."