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Published on 3 September 2014

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Healthy living pharmacy shown to prevent visits to the doctor

Adopting a Healthy Living Pharmacy model has allowed pharmacies in the UK to bring about better use of health care resources, according to evidence presented at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Adopting a Healthy Living Pharmacy model has allowed pharmacies in the UK to bring about better use of health care resources, according to evidence presented at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

In a survey of 1,304 users of healthy living pharmacies, which offer a range of services such as smoking cessation, sexual health, weight management and alcohol awareness, 60% said they would have used their doctors if they had not accessed the Healthy Living Pharmacy service. Moreover, 21% of patients would not have done anything to improve their health.

The Healthy Living Pharmacy initiative is based on a 2008 Pharmacy White Paper and the model began to be developed in the following year. The approach is for pharmacies to provide high-quality public health services based on local need. Healthy living pharmacies must meet a number of quality criteria covering engagement, environment and workforce development, including having a health champion — an individual who has completed an accredited health improvement course — and proactively promoting health and wellbeing.

Following an initial successful pilot, a pathfinder programme was started in 2011, across 20 areas in England. The survey was carried out in 10 of the pathfinder sites. It also found that employers in healthy living pharmacies believe that investment in the concept has had a positive effect on staff development, retention and productivity.

This initial evaluation indicates that healthy living pharmacies can be implemented in areas of different demography and geography. The model appears to be a successful organisational development tool to maximise the contribution of pharmacy to improving the public’s health. Studies have also replicated the benefits of the ethos, practice and improved outcomes of these pharmacies,” said Mike Holden, principle author of a poster presented at the congress.

The Healthy Living Pharmacy initiative is currently running in 40 areas across the UK. It is now led by the Pharmacy & Public Health Forum, which reports to Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health.



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