People in Wolverhampton are set to be given more help and support to improve their health from their local pharmacist.
The City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Local Pharmaceutical Committee and Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group have teamed up to roll out the Healthy Living Pharmacy programme in the city.
Healthy Living Pharmacies improve the wellbeing of the local population, with “health champions” on hand to give out high quality information and support on a range of issues, including sexual health advice, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake.
They also reach out to businesses, schools and community groups with health improvement advice.
The HLP is a quality mark given to pharmacies that meet a defined set of criteria, and that proactively engage with the public to tackle health inequalities.
The Healthy Living Pharmacy programme was unveiled at a launch event on Wednesday (30 November, 2016), attended by more than 100 people from local community pharmacies, health providers and other organisations.
Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Pharmacists have an important role to play in meeting a wide range of health and care needs in our communities.
“By becoming Healthy Living Pharmacies they can go that one step further and help people care for themselves by promoting good health and signposting customers to relevant services.
“Where Healthy Living Pharmacies have been introduced elsewhere they have had a very positive impact, with people twice as likely to try to quit smoking after speaking to a health champion, and more people able to get the support they need from their pharmacist rather than their GP.”
“We know we face some particular challenges regarding the health of the local population and so we are delighted that so many local pharmacies are keen to support this initiative and look forward to an enhanced service being rolled out across the city.”
Dr Dan De Rosa, Chair of Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “The Healthy Living Pharmacy programme in Wolverhampton can help patients that require support for self-care by providing information, advice and over the counter medication.
“Our local pharmacies already provide Medicine Use Reviews for people on long term medication and a New Medicines Service which is offered to people starting on new medication.
“The introduction of Healthy Living Pharmacies demonstrates a further commitment from our local pharmacies to support the promotion of healthy lifestyles by providing advice, support and many services such as stopping smoking, sexual health and substance misuse.”
At Wednesday’s event, pharmacists were able to find out more about the Healthy Living Pharmacy programme and local services which have a role to play in improving people’s health and wellbeing, including the council’s WV Active leisure centres, Wolverhampton Healthy Lifestyles Services, Embrace sexual health service, the Recovery Near You drug and alcohol service, SUIT, Healthwatch and the Refugee and Migrant Centre.
There are 74 community pharmacies in Wolverhampton which are providing a range of services, ranging from dispensing, medicines optimisation, self-care support and public health promotion.
Many also provide stop smoking services for people who are looking to quit smoking and a needle exchange service to enable the safe disposal of needles previously used by drug addicts.
To become a Healthy Living Pharmacy, a pharmacy must meet a number of criteria, including demonstrating that they are proactively engaging with members of the local community in health promotion activities.