Tomorrow the Department of Health will publish its Pharmacy White Paper ‘Building on Strengths, Delivering the Future’ – PRimage await this eagerly, as we are a specialist healthcare PR agency, with clients in the pharmacy sector. This White Paper is part of a radical shake-up of NHS services – and is expected to deliver on recent Government pledges to factor in solutions that community pharmacy could provide on out of hours healthcare and easily accessible healthcare advice. Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team are active pharmacy lobbyists and champions – both professionally and personally, so we warmly applaud this move to utilise the potential of pharmacy in making the health service more convenient for patients.
It is expected that the White Paper will reveal that patients will be able to get a range of treatments, including vaccinations, health checks – blood pressure tests, cholesterol tests and body mass index measurements – from local pharmacists instead of having to go to their GP. Pharmacists will also will also be expected to take over the management of long-term conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, and carry out regular checks to see if patients’ medication is appropriate. Flu jabs will be available from local pharmacies and pharmacists will also run travel clinics, where people can go for inoculations or malaria tablets.
As PRimage have continually lobbied and reminded parliamentarians and opinion formers, “community pharmacies are the front door to the NHS’ – open 6 days a week for healthcare advice and medicines…. with no appointment needed!” Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals – and on a daily basis the nation’s network of community pharmacies provide customers with a ready and accessible programme of expert advice and healthcare services. What’s more, they are ready and willing to help people improve their health and get fit, with easy to understand advice and information on how to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.
And as we commented on this blog site last year, Gordon Brown has previously backed a wider role for pharmacy, saying he wants to see community pharmacists taking on more of the work of GPs. During his period of consulting with the NHS, prior to his appointmnt as PM, he said there was a need to make blood pressure checks available at pharmacies and to push on with the electronic prescription service. Gordon Brown said: “We will bring forward plans to extend the range of NHS treatments available through pharmacists for those who choose to take advantage of the convenience of that kind of service.” Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, also announced that pharmacists would help to carry out the “health MoTs” to be offered to everyone aged between 40 and 74.
Judy was interested to read a report on this move in today’s Daily Telegraph, which highlights that a recent survey found 80 per cent of the public felt their local chemist was the most convenient place to get health care advice. The PRimage team believe this endorses and resonates the healthcare message: ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ … The public are clearly doing this, with confidence that they will be getting good advice!