Three quarters of pharmacies in Wolverhampton have signed up to a new scheme designed to give local residents additional help to improve their health and wellbeing.
The City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Local Pharmaceutical Committee and Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group formally launched the Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) programme at one of the first pharmacies in the City to secure HLP status recently.
Healthy Living Pharmacies are designed to 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, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake.
They can also provide health improvement advice to local businesses, schools and community groups, and proactively engage with members of the local community in health promotion activities.
Pharmacies who have either received the accreditation, or are currently working towards it, have been involved in recent stop smoking campaigns, and in time will work closely with GPs and voluntary organisations to coordinate health and wellbeing activities in their local area.
Ros Jervis, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: “Pharmacists have an important role to play in meeting a wide range of health and care needs in our communities.
“Healthy Living Pharmacies go one step further in helping people better care for themselves by promoting good health and signposting customers to relevant services – in doing so, they are ensuring that more people are able to get the support they need at their local pharmacy rather than their GP.
"We have been overwhelmed by the response from local pharmacies and delighted that so many have signed up to be part of this programme.”
J Docter Pharmacy in Wood End, Wednesfield, was one of the first pharmacies to achieve the accreditation. Pharmacist Kubra Gillani said: “Pharmacies have always been a great source of advice on health matters, but at J Docter Pharmacy, we felt the need to take this a step further and become a Healthy Living Pharmacy.
“This means that we are dispensing good advice, not just on medicine, but also about lifestyle choices our patients can make, covering issues such as diet, physical activity, smoking cessation and signposting to other facilities available for our patients in the community.”
Ros added: “With the changing landscape of health and social care, we believe that community pharmacies have an increasingly important role to play in prevention and early intervention.
“Healthy Living Pharmacies are just the start of the development of a longer-term partnership between community pharmacies, commissioners, GPs, primary care, social care and the voluntary and community sector.”