There’s an opportunity for pharmacies to become public health and wellbeing centres, says Sue Hobdey, NPA head of learning and development

The NHS Five Year Forward View, published in October 2014, called for a “radical upgrade in prevention and public health”. And community pharmacy’s own Five Year Forward View called for pharmacies to become local health and wellbeing centres – the “go-to” destination for support, advice and resources.

Local pharmacies are ideally placed for delivering health improvements to their communities, and in many cases, are doing so already. The sheer number of interactions that people have with pharmacies – there are 1.6 million visits to community pharmacy daily for health-related reasons – means community pharmacy has a long track record of providing a wide range of lifestyle and healthcare advice.

These 1.6 million visits provide pharmacy teams with opportunities to offer health-promoting interventions, and to make every contact count. They also create an opportunity for both early detection of high-risk conditions such as hypertension, and lifestyle change.

Healthy living pharmacies (HLPs) have been a welcome development over the last few years in the provision of public health advice, although all pharmacies are vital in delivering favourable public health outcomes. HLP has come to the forefront once again recently, as it is now part of the Quality Payments scheme and is worth 20 points, which could lead to a payment of £1,280.

A Healthy Living Champion course for all customer- and patient-facing pharmacy staff is available from the NPA.

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