Pharmacies can increase their chances of commissioning by becoming accredited as a healthy living pharmacy (HLP), according to the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH).
Attaining HLP status is a “massive community asset” because it makes staff and commissioners aware of the pharmacy’s public health role, RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer told C+D last week (August 7).
“Lots of community pharmacies are doing a lot of brilliant things, but there’s something about a title that’s helpful,” Ms Cramer said.
Pharmacy teams' lack of confidence giving health advice to patients is one of the barriers to commissioning, and HLPs help to increase this “core base of understanding” among staff, Ms Cramer said.
“The whole team needs to have a bit of training on what health improvement means. HLPs have done that, and I think that needs to be rolled out across community pharmacies,” she said.
In June, the RSPH praised HLPs for their potential to impact on public health, and Ms Cramer said the initiative encourages teams to “have healthy conversations with the population [and] signpost them to specific services in the community”.
Pharmacies are also more likely to experience commissioning success if they “band together to make their voice louder”, she said.
The sector is “quite individualised” and pharmacies have “terrific potential” if they learn to jointly promote services such as NHS health checks, weight management and smoking cessation, Ms Cramer stressed.
“Pharmacy is in the best position [to deliver services] because of the level of trust in their communities. Working together is where you’ll get the joined up systems that will be better for all the organisations and communities they serve,” she added.
Ms Cramer also called for more pharmacists to be represented on health and wellbeing boards (HWBs), and for the sector to use existing evidence of the benefits of pharmacy services to “push the buttons” of HWBs and local government.
In June, Public Health England committed to doubling the number of HLPs to “more than 2,000” within five years.