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Numark and Rowlands branches pilot free heart health-check service

Under the pilot, pharmacists give patients a heart age score
Under the pilot, pharmacists give patients a heart age score

Fifty Numark member pharmacies and Rowlands branches are offering a free heart health-check service as part of a pilot service, Numark has announced.

Launched this week (May 17), the service sees pharmacists or trained colleagues give patients a heart age score, along with a cardiovascular risk assessment, blood pressure reading and body mass index calculation.

Patients “will be provided with a personalised summary of their numbers, risk score and importantly the areas for health improvement”, a Numark spokesperson told C+D.

The service is not suitable for those under the age of 25, patients with pre-existing heart conditions or those who are pregnant, but Numark said they were “keen to engage” with those who were unaware of their risk level or who have high blood pressure.

The service was launched in response to a Numark-commissioned YouGov poll of 2,028 adults in the UK, which found that one third of respondents feel unhealthier following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nationally commission heart health checks

Numark’s free heart health-check service is not funded at present, the spokesperson told C+D. However, it “further champions the important role that community pharmacy can play in helping the public better understand their health needs”.

Community pharmacies should be commissioned to offer a similar health check service, a view that “is backed by 61% of the survey participants”, the spokesperson added.

“This latest research and pilot from Numark are just the start of how we plan to further highlight the critical role community pharmacy plays in improving public health,” they said.

Service could reduce risk of heart disease

Numark managing director Jeremy Meader said that the group hopes the pilot service will “actively help curb the increased health risks lockdown restrictions have imposed on the health of the nation”.

“There are now twice as many people feeling unhealthier than there are feeling healthier, following the impact of COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Meader added. “It’s not just an increase in weight that is putting more pressure on the nation’s health post-pandemic; adults who drink now openly admit to drinking frequently on a weekly basis, and almost twice as many smokers have increased how much they smoke.”

Mr Meader added that pharmacy teams could play “a pivotal role” in offering everyday health support, including reducing the risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

The Department of Health and Social Care told C+D that it intends to commission a nationwide pharmacy heart health-check service, depending on the findings of a pilot in selected primary care network areas.

Would you like to see this service rolled out nationally?

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Whatever that is provided for free has no value.

We are mugs to provide free services to get competitive advantage. No wonder we are perceived as shopkeepers. Suits the DoH perfectively.

Meera Sharma, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Agree with you Uma. Why free? Most pharmacies don't have capacity to deliver services for free.


Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Most pharmacies do have the capacity to deliver services for 'free'.

Paying low wages and massive understaffing ensures that the costs are borne by the employee. This allows the government, owner of the contract and customer to receive something for nothing.

If community pharmacies were to operate with the pay structure and staffing levels of hospital pharmacy, all three of those groups would have to bear a greater part of the cost: greater government spending, higher tax and lower profit. 

Of course, this will never happen. Why would those who currently benefit from a goverment sponsored cartel want to give up their unfair advantage? Roll on the next batch of faux clinical services and the veneer of clinical respectability they bring.



Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

George Bernard Shaw   “He who can does; he who cannot, teaches.” and I add advise

M. Rx(n), Student

Equally, those who CAN DO each of the three BADLY, also DO.

Gardener"s rule of civilization:
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."

I'd argue all facets of Pharmacy is ensared in this state.

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Nothing is for 'free'. Somebody, somewhere, has to pay a cost.

Therefore the cost is borne by those who work in branch. Branch staff are not paid any extra for 'free' services nor are they given extra staff hours. So they absorb the cost through greater workload.

Nobody cares about the employee in community pharmacy, but does sacrificing employee well-being by offering 'free' services produce greater longterm financial viability for community pharmacy? The lesson of the last 15 years is crystal clear: no, it does not. It emboldens government ministers to further ignore the sector and confirms its weakness.

So why is it done? Well, somebody, somewhere, outside of the branch has to been seen to be doing something. It is either that or people might begin to question what it is they actually do. 

There is always a sufficent number of useful idiots at branch level, whose loud endorsement of such nonsense ideas is enough to legitimise the stress it imposes on every other branch.

Amit Shah, Community pharmacist

I'm pretty sure the PSNC told us not to provide free services with negotiations ongoing.


jignesh patel, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Yes stop doing stuff free Numark. No wonder the NHSE dont fund us properly..

Dave Downham, Manager

Stop. Doing. Stuff. For. Free.

M. Rx(n), Student

It is the the NHS/DoH/GPhC who have to step in and put a stop to all proprietor-cooked ancillary offerings in Pharmacies including GSL promotions and purchase inducements and what nots.

Because the CORE services suffer due to no corresponding uptick in staffing. Worse still, these "services" go nowhere and fizzle out.

I just read on this very website just s few days ago that Pharmacy Staff were at a breaking point.

The GPhC has to STEP IN because it is a patient safety issue in the end!

How High?, Community pharmacist

But they won't in advance, only after something catastrophic has happened and the it will be the RP (that has no contemporaneuos record of raising concerns) that gets it as the company will have all bases covered.

M. Rx(n), Student

The solution for all parties would be for the GPhC to produce a standardised safety checklist for EVERY RP to use in securing a Pharmacy Premises.

This way, the RP has a documented baseline record of the state of a pharmacy and the steps taken to mitigate any glaring risks during their shift. This is then filed at the end with the GPhC and a copy left for the Manager/operator.

Of course this wouldn't apply to Managing RPs as it is their long-term responsibility to keep the place up to standard. If their company won't support them then they have to think hard about their situation. The long-term effect is that Pharmacy operators will pay handsomely to find competent RPs to run their Pharmacies and what's more they'll provide them with the support needed to keep the place out of the GPhC's sights. That's if the GPhC draws a hard-line with premises standards.

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