Community pharmacy is part of the NHS. We are not some adjunct service but a core stakeholder. Our communities need us now more than ever, as many of them feel forgotten and left behind, in what some would call a wellbeing crisis.
Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol sits in a geographical position that helps me illustrate this point. It is within what could be viewed as an intersection for three main roads – East Street, West Street and North Street.
The populations along these three roads have very distinctive social, economic, health and lifestyle behavioural profiles. Many of their needs and challenges can be met by our pharmacy, as is the case with many other pharmacies around the country and the local populations they cater to.
Community pharmacy has always been a place where many things happen daily. These include: physical and mental health care; social care; public health education and interventions; lifestyle and behavioural support; self-care promotion; medicines optimisation; minor ailments treatment; emergency health management and signposting; and many other things.
We are part of a collective NHS England team effort, working across our local health system with a shared ambition of delivering much-needed expert health interventions and promoting wellbeing. By virtue of our unique offering of easy accessibility and community leverage we are at the forefront of addressing health inequalities as champions of social justice.
This is why community pharmacy is a valued member of the NHS family, working alongside doctors, nurses, midwives, social care providers and hospitals, among others. We are part of the NHS and we work to make it better for our patients and community.
At Bedminster Pharmacy we have been working with our local GP pharmacists to address cardiovascular health inequalities. We are working with the primary care network (PCN) to tackle unwarranted variations by addressing health-determining factors linked to individual lived experiences.
We identify patients at heightened risk, supporting them to get expedited tailored care while also looking to facilitate community pharmacy commissioning so we can provide appropriate care such as cardiovascular and diabetic checks. The aim is to provide a model of joined-up cardiovascular care in the PCN.
Ade Williams is superintendent pharmacist at Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol
This blog is part of a collaboration with the National Pharmacy Association for Ask Your Pharmacist Week, which runs November 2-9. The campaign promotes the role of community pharmacies at the centre of the NHS.