NICE have launched this guidance – Community Pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing.
It is important that pharmacy owners, pharmacists and pharmacy teams, particularly Health Champions, and local commissioners of both health and wellbeing services understand what the recommendations are and what this means for them.
This guideline covers how community pharmacies can help maintain and improve people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, including people with a long-term condition. It aims to encourage more people to use community pharmacies by integrating them within existing health and care pathways and ensuring they offer standard services and a consistent approach. It requires a collaborative approach from individual pharmacies and their representatives, local authorities and other commissioners.
Summary of key recommendations
- Local commissioners, Health & Wellbeing Boards, community pharmacies and their representatives (e.g. LPCs) should work to integrate community pharmacy into existing care and referral pathways as health and wellbeing hubs.
- Interventions should be focused on local needs, be consistently of high quality, tailored to the individual, use professionally produced support materials and pharmacy team members delivering them should have the right skills and knowledge, e.g. in line with NICE guidance on behaviour change.
- Local commissioners should promote community pharmacy as an integral part of NHS primary care services.
- Community pharmacies should publicise their skills and services to increase the public’s knowledge and confidence in those services.
- Community pharmacies should proactively seek opportunities to promote people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. This includes raising awareness, providing information, advice and support, and signposting or referral to and from other services. This could happen when responding to requests for advice, selling OTC medicines or supplying prescription medicines and supporting a patient with a long-term condition such as diabetes or hypertension. The brief interventions could include the self-management of mild to moderate back pain, physical activity, smoking, healthy weight and diet, and alcohol consumption. A minimum dataset should be used to capture these interventions and referrals.
What does this mean for community pharmacies?
We believe that the guidance is a very good fit with the objectives and ethos of the Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) model which we have supported since its conception. So those pharmacies that are already accredited HLPs and maintained their capability and activity in line with the HLP Criteria will be well placed to meet most or all of these recommendations.
At Pharmacy Complete we have gone beyond the core HLP criteria with our award-winning Health Champion development programme that we have created for pharmacy teams which includes our Knowledge into Action workshop, the RSPH Applied award in Health Improvement and the Supporting Behaviour Change Level 2 award plus Making Every Contact Count (MECC). We have also developed our Health Campaign service which uses only evidence-based, professional materials plus a topic knowledge piece and hints and tips to support the provision of the required minimum of six campaigns a year.
There will undoubtedly be some work for local public health, NHS and CCG commissioners to do on the integration and publicity recommendations; LPCs and Local Healthwatch should be holding them to account on this.