Pharmacy teams can utilise health campaigns to disseminate important information to customers and this November provides lots of opportunities
The Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened people’s understanding of just how crucial community pharmacies are to the health of their communities, and pharmacy’s role in Covid-related services is only increasing as autumn approaches.
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) is primed and ready for its annual mission to boost awareness of pharmacy services and prompt conversations with key local stakeholders about community pharmacy’s role and benefits, with the upcoming Ask Your Pharmacist (AYP) Week.
"The pandemic has given people a sense that pharmacies are capable of helping them in many ways that they, as patients, might not have previously imagined," says NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick. "Yet many people don’t know specifically what help is available in pharmacies, or how to access it. They may be missing out, because they are unaware that their specific health concern can be addressed effectively, conveniently and close to home, in their local pharmacy."
Set to kick off on 1 November 2021, AYP Week will focus on the theme of ‘Your local pharmacy can help’ and echo the sentiments of the 2020 campaign, which helped raise public awareness that community pharmacies are part of the NHS. The NPA is aiming to emphasise the ever-growing range of clinical services – such as the NHS Discharge Medicines Service launched in 2021 – that community pharmacies offer, with the central message of the campaign being "don’t miss out on healthcare available conveniently and close to home, in your local pharmacy".
There are a variety of ways for pharmacy teams to take part in the AYP campaign – the easiest being to distribute materials among the community about the range of services and skills on offer at the pharmacy. Social media and local press are fantastic platforms to signpost people to community pharmacy as the first port of call for common ailments. The NPA also suggests pharmacies reach out to local patient groups to explain the evolving role of community pharmacy and how to make best use of the pharmacy, and invite their local MP to visit the pharmacy to learn more about the valuable services on offer, too.
As in previous years, the NPA expects there will be a considerable amount of local radio coverage. Any member pharmacies wanting to try their hand at radio and even local TV interviews can get in touch with the NPA’s press office for support and guidance.
Campaign materials, including posters and social media graphics, will be available on the NPA website in due course.
Self Care Week 2021: practise self care for life
November’s run of healthcare campaigns continues from 15-21 November 2021 with Self Care Week
This annual UK-wide national awareness event, run by the Self Care Forum since 2011, focuses on embedding self care support across communities, families and generations and making it a part of everyday life.
Self care is a vital part of the support pharmacy teams can provide and Ade Williams, a Self Care Forum trustee and superintendent pharmacist at M J Williams Pharmacy in Bristol, says that "self care addresses voids in knowledge, empowering people to know how to take care of their health".
With the residual effects of the Covid-19 pandemic coming to attention, it’s now more important than ever for people to practise self care and make positive lifestyle changes, which is why the Self Care Forum has chosen the theme ‘Practise self care for life’ for 2021.
Throughout the week, the Forum advises pharmacy teams to communicate specific messages about positive lifestyle choices to their customers. These can include taking vitamin D supplements, eating well, doing regular exercise, giving up smoking, supporting mental wellness and helping customers to better understand how to manage minor to long-term health conditions. In the wake of Covid-19, the campaign is also being used to reinforce messages such as social distancing and washing hands effectively. And, like Ask Your Pharmacist week, Self Care Week is being used to promote better use of the NHS by signposting people to the right service relevant to their health needs – in particular, signposting people to pharmacy for accessible healthcare and advice.
There are many resources available on the Self Care Forum website, including an eight-point plan to help pharmacies plan for their Self Care Week activities. Social media can play a large role in people’s understanding of health issues, so pharmacies may choose to capitalise on this and join the conversation using hashtags such as #selfcareforlife and #selfcareweek. The Self Care Forum also has sample tweets available for inspiration.
To find out more about the campaign and download resources from the Self Care Forum.
There’s a plethora of health awareness campaigns in November visit TM's campaigns page for more.
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