There are more than 11,600 community pharmacies in England and they provide highly accessible healthcare, particularly in areas of high deprivation. Overall 89.2% of the population is estimated to have access to a community pharmacy within a 20-minute walk and in the most deprived areas this rises to 99.8% of people. An estimated 90% of people visit a pharmacy at least once per year.
Peter Dowd MP Said “Pharmacies play an important role in easing the burden on the NHS and it’s important that government policy is shaped around making the best use of their services. Government should be making better use of this network of healthcare locations, which are in the heart of communities, enabling them to offer a range of additional services that would both suit patients and reduce pressure on other healthcare services. Pharmacists and pharmacies should be used in a much more practical and progressive way, particularly with the current challenges facing Primary Care.
In Sefton we have 78 pharmacies and over 92% of these are Healthy Living Pharmacies, offering expert advice and support on a range of topics including:
- Correct and safe use of medicines and devices;
- Referral for red flag symptoms to more appropriate healthcare settings; and
- Support to manage conditions such as asthma.
- Provide healthy lifestyle advice eg diet, exercise
- Dementia support,
- BP checks
- Advice on leading healthy lifestyles that can help to prevent cancer.
- Information about risk factors and early symptoms of cancer
- Help for people with minor conditions
- Flu vaccinations and advice on winter health
- Care for people with long-term conditions
- Help patients manage their medicines via MURs
- Support patients via NMS receiving specific new medicines
- Help patients being transferred from hospital care
- Signpost patients to receive further support
- Support public health campaigns eg healthy lungs, Dry January
Many pharmacies are also commissioned to offer public health services by Local Authorities to meet the needs of their population. A wide range of public health and prevention services are currently commissioned at a local level across parts of England including:
- Stop smoking services;
- Substance Misuse services
- Sexual health services.