Pharmacy teams have a big role to play, along with other healthcare professionals, in advancing public health through prevention, according to a new Government consultation paper.
The paper – Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s – states that “the 2020s will be the decade of proactive, predictive, and personalised prevention”, with community pharmacy already delivering its main strategies and having the potential to build on this. These strategies include: targeted support, tailored lifestyle advice, personalised care and greater protection against future threats.
Policy ideas to help prevent and detect ill-health at an earlier stage are outlined in the paper, including aims to eradicate smoking in England by 2030, create further action on childhood obesity and emphasise the importance of immunisations to increase uptake across all communities.
The paper also demonstrates the opportunity for community pharmacies to deliver a wide range of prevention services through the five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) – see APTUK responds to CPCF for more.
It highlights that pharmacy staff will be trained to provide a wider range of health advice and support, including helping to identify and refer patients with unidentified health conditions, such as heart disease.
Simon Dukes, PSNC chief executive, said: “The green paper on prevention makes several positive references to community pharmacy, rightly identifying the sector as having an important role to play in the future of public health services. The five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework agreement… has already started to cement that vision, setting out a plan for the development of pharmacy services in this important area.”
Mr Dukes went on to say that both documents describe a future in which community pharmacy is the first port of call for healthcare, benefiting patients and the NHS.
The paper is open to consultation until 14 October and PSNC is encouraging teams to respond and put forward examples of best practice, which could help inform future policy.