The contribution of community pharmacy to improving the public's health. Report 1, Evidence from the peer-reviewed literature 1990–2001

Anderson, Claire, Blenkinsopp, Alison and Armstrong, Miriam (2003) The contribution of community pharmacy to improving the public's health. Report 1, Evidence from the peer-reviewed literature 1990–2001. Technical Report: ISBN 0-9538505-1-X. PharmacyHealthLink and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.

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The modernisation of the NHS has highlighted the

Government's intent to improve the public’s access to

health services, information on preventing ill health and

support for self-care. Community pharmacies are in a

strong position to contribute to this agenda with around

12 000 dedicated premises in the UK creating an informal

network of ‘drop in’ access points for health care services,

medicines and advice on health and well-being.

It has been estimated that over six million people visit

pharmacies every day. Many pharmacy staff work in

premises that are sited within local communities and

shopping precincts where they provide easy access to the

public without the need for an appointment. The

informal nature of contact with a pharmacy creates an

experience for users which is more similar to a ‘consumer’

than as a ‘patient’. Visitors to pharmacies come from all

sectors of the population and research has shown that

local pharmacy services are particularly valued by those

without easy access to a car or public transport. In

recognition of this potential the recent Health

Committee Inquiry into Public Health5 recommended that

‘the Government takes steps for community pharmacists

to play a more active role in public health’.

As a result of these characteristics there is an opportunity

for pharmacy staff to give advice and support on health

or medicines to a significant proportion of the

population on a regular or ad hoc basis. Much of this

advice is given with prescriptions and the treatment of

minor illnesses, however, some pharmacies also provide

other services to improve health, such as help with

smoking cessation, dietary advice, and testing of blood

pressure and cholesterol. The provision of these latter

services, however, is not universal and there has been no

systematic evaluation of the evidence on their

contribution to public health. To help assess the value of

these services delivered through pharmacy, the Royal

Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB)and the

charity PharmacyHealthLink commissioned a review of

the UK and international evidence-base health

improvement in order to determine which activities are

most likely to be effective in a pharmacy setting and how

they might best be provided.

The review demonstrates that certain services are both

sufficiently well-researched and well-received by

pharmacy users at an international level, for example in

smoking cessation, lipid management in the prevention

of coronary heart disease, immunisation and emergency

contraception, that recommendations for their

widespread implementation in the UK can be made.

Other services also show promise but are less wellresearched

and require more evaluation before an

assessment of their effectiveness and suitability in a

pharmacy setting can be determined.

This review can help to shape the contribution of

community pharmacists to a modernised health service. It

provides useful evidence to those involved in the

planning and provision of health services to prevent

illness and maintain health. Funding bodies and

commissioners may wish to use its findings to develop

pharmacy services to contribute further to their health

improvement plans and local targets.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Identification Number: ISBN 0-9538505-1-X
Depositing User: Anderson, Prof Claire
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2012 15:40
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:31

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