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Commissioners get 'menu' of services to order from pharmacies

The PHE report laid out 14 areas where community pharmacies can improve public health
The PHE report laid out 14 areas where community pharmacies can improve public health

Public Health England (PHE) has given local authorities a "menu" of interventions they can commission from pharmacies.

The report – published on Wednesday – "sets out opportunities" for community pharmacy teams to "play an even bigger part in helping the public better look after their health", said PHE lead pharmacist Gul Root.

The ‘Pharmacy: A Way Forward for Public Health’ report sets out a “menu of opportunity”, covering 14 areas where community pharmacies can improve public health, including blood pressure, smoking, obesity and dementia.

Within these areas, PHE gives examples of what pharmacy teams are capable of, such as dementia checks; smoking cessation advice; Dementia Friend training; and weight management services.

PHE said it is focusing on “developing the capability” of pharmacy teams, as well as supporting local authorities to commission public health services through pharmacies.

Ms Root told C+D yesterday that pharmacy teams include some of the "most accessible health professionals", citing 1.2 million daily visits to community pharmacies and the increasing number of pharmacists working in GP practices.

Momentum to implement HLPs

The inclusion of healthy living pharmacy (HLP) level one accreditation within the quality payments scheme has provided a “great opportunity for pharmacy to demonstrate the real impact it can make on improving the health of people in England”, PHE said.

“There is a great deal of momentum across the country to implement HLPs,” it added.

The report also describes pharmacies as “safe havens in the heart of communities”, which “help to reduce health inequalities”.

“They have the trust and support of the public, with staff that reflect the background of the residents they serve…helping to relieve the pressure on the already stretched GP practices and A&E departments.”

Read the full report here.

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Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

I have only had a quick look at the info provided but, as far as I can see, the services listed are all ones which have been commissioned in the past then cut to save funds. Given that healthcare is moving from "treatment" to "prevention" these seems incredibly short-sighted, if not actually opposing the general thinking

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

You can show them the menu but which LA is willing to pay the bill? Increasingly very few. LAs may have mandated services but what that looks like is increasingly a meager morsel. 

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