Public approve of Healthy Living Pharmacies

Submitted by Felicity Mitchell on 29 April 2013 - 10:50pm

 

Pharmacies across Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight involved in a project to improve local health and well-being have received overwhelmingly positive public feedback, with 98% of people surveyed saying they would recommend the service to others.

Healthy Living Pharmacies support the health of the local population by promoting a healthy living ethos and delivering a range of high standard services, such as Stop Smoking, Weight Management or Emergency Hormonal Contraception.  Since the first Healthy Living Pharmacies were launched in Portsmouth in 2010, the project has won national recognition from health chiefs and the pharmacy industry, as well as being reported in a number of key health policy documents.  The initiative has now been rolled out to 20 areas nationwide, with varying levels of deprivation and including city centre, urban or rural localities.  The recent evaluation of this pilot has clearly shown that Healthy Living Pharmacies are able to make a valuable contribution to the health of their local communities, regardless of their location or the local health need. 

Based on a sample of 1034 individuals, there was a strong positive public opinion of the services delivered by Healthy Living Pharmacies, with endorsement and acceptability seen in all areas.  Of those surveyed, 60% said they would've gone to their GP if the service was not available from the pharmacy, suggesting that offering these services from pharmacies reduces the workload burden for GP surgeries.  Worryingly, a further 20% reported that they would not have accessed a service at all if it had not been available from the pharmacy, illustrating the role of local community pharmacies in serving some of the most hard-to-reach populations.

There are now 508 Healthy Living Pharmacies in England, but it is hoped that the strong public opinion expressed in this evaluation will support the roll-out of Healthy Living Pharmacies throughout the country.  

Duncan Selbie, the Chief Executive of Public Health England (PHE), has welcomed the “impressive” results of the Healthy Living Pharmacy pathfinder programme, whilst Lord Howe, Under-Secretary for State for Quality, has said:

“There is no doubt Healthy Living Pharmacies can deliver excellent benefits to local communities. When I saw the impressive work in Portsmouth first hand, I was clear that this success should be shared across the country.

I’m delighted the public recognises their value with almost all saying they would recommend it to others.

This evaluation shows the work has been very positive and provides further evidence of the contribution Healthy Living Pharmacies make to improve the public's health locally."

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