NHS England’s Help Us Help You campaign (4 February to 31 March) aims to inform the public on how they can stay well over the winter months, with particular emphasis on the vital role of pharmacy teams in delivering positive outcomes at a local level.
A multi-channel advertising campaign including TV and social media highlights the expert advice and clinical services available in community pharmacy to help customers with a wide range of minor ailments such as coughs, colds and stomach problems.
These minor conditions often drive people to their GP or A&E, putting additional pressure on already strained health services, and drawing attention to community pharmacy’s strengths in these areas could help the pubic recognise it as a first port of call, health bodies say.
The campaign is described as a new overarching brand, bringing together all strands of NHS England and Public Health England (PHE)’s winter health awareness activity, including Stay Well This Winter.
All community pharmacies will have received a resources pack, which includes a double-sided window sticker, shelf wobblers, poster, information cards and a leaflet dispenser. These materials will act as a reminder to customers to visit a pharmacy next time they need clinical advice about a minor health concern. Pharmacy teams are also encouraged to share resources online.
PSNC and NHS England have agreed that this will count as one of community pharmacy’s contracted six public health campaigns, so participation by displaying the materials is mandatory. Additional materials are available from PHE’s Campaign Resource Centre.
NHS England comments that the campaign will “raise awareness that community pharmacists are qualified health professionals who can offer clinical assessment, advice, reassurance and over-the-counter medicines for a range of symptoms, and use of a consultation room should it be required.”
The National Pharmacy Association adds that all pharmacy staff members should be “briefed about the campaign to ensure that they are fully aware and, where appropriate, are ready to offer clinical advice for people with minor health concerns.”