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Charities train Tesco pharmacists to advise on lowering health issue risks

Three leading health charities are training Tesco pharmacists and their teams to deliver specialist advice and support to people on how to lower the risk of serious health conditions.

The new training programme – which launched earlier this year – will help pharmacy teams “support people to act on any potential signs and symptoms of heart and circulatory diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer”, Tesco said in a statement published this morning (July 12).

Pharmacy teams in more than 200 Tesco branches are undergoing the training, developed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Cancer Research UK, and Diabetes UK, Tesco added.

Tesco hopes to roll out the training to teams in all of its 373 pharmacies across the UK, a spokesperson told C+D.


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A YouGov survey commissioned by the charities and Tesco revealed that just 9% of adults in Britain visit their pharmacy for advice and information on lowering their risk of serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

According to the survey – completed by a total of 2,120 people online between May 19 and 20 – 43% of respondents who had visited their pharmacy said talking to a pharmacist had eased their concerns around wasting their GP’s time.


Training will help patients make “small changes to day-to-day routines”


Trained pharmacy teams are expected to provide support to patients by helping them to make “small changes to their day-to-day routine”, Tesco said.

The survey also revealed that just 2% of adults had visited their pharmacist for a blood pressure check in the last 12 months, despite an estimated 4.8 million people in the UK living with undiagnosed high blood pressure.


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According to research released by the BHF earlier this year, more than 7.6m people in the UK are living with heart and circulatory diseases, while more than 4.9m are living with diabetes – 90% of which are cases of type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, cancer support charity Macmillan estimates that almost three million people are living with cancer. Yet, around four in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented or delayed.


Charities “proud” to deliver “this world-class training”


Commenting on the announcement, Tesco head of pharmacy Paul Pilkington said: “We want to encourage everyone to take advantage of the resources and support available in Tesco pharmacies to help people live healthier.”

He suggested that shoppers approach a pharmacy team member wearing a “Let’s Talk” badge if they need support.


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Meanwhile, Diabetes UK head of care Dan Howarth added on behalf of the charities that they are “proud to be working together with Tesco to help deliver this world-class training to Tesco pharmacists and pharmacy colleagues”.

There are “far more people” that could “be taking advantage of the advice and support available to them from their Tesco pharmacy while they do their weekly shop”, he said.

“This includes tips and information on stopping smoking and weight management services.”

More than 7,200 pharmacies are currently offering blood pressure checks through the hypertension case-finding service, according to the latest figures shared by NHS Business Services Authority last month.


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