There is an enormous amount that community pharmacy already does and could do to support individuals to live well for longer.
Kevin Fenton, Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England (PHE) said, “Community pharmacies are crucial to any neighbourhood’s local health. They’re often one of the first health points of contact for families, which is why recognising the extent of their importance and understanding their role is key to their involvement in public health. The numerous advice and interventions they offer are able to help people in communities such as their stop smoking services to help people quit and weight management services to promote healthier eating and lifestyles.”
Through other work of the Pharmacy and Public Health Forum, the NHS Confederation recently published Health on the High Street and the LGA published Community Pharmacy and Public Health.
Community pharmacy improves the public’s health in many ways:
• optimising the effective and safe use of medicines in acute illness and long-term conditions
• supporting healthy lifestyles
• access to self-care for common ailments to reduce workloads on GPs and A&E
• supporting independent living
Pharmacy Voice recently launched Dispensing Health, a new long-term campaign designed to encourage the general public, Parliament, politicians, policy makers and health professionals to think differently about how they interact with community pharmacy.
The current ‘call to action’ initiative is an opportunity for the profession, the public and commissioners to radically change the effective use of this community-based and focused hub for health, wellbeing and social care.
When considering the role of community pharmacy, it’s worth asking these questions:
1. Are you making the most of the accessibility and skills of your local community pharmacies?
2. What works well and what works less well?
3. What would you want from community pharmacy in the future?