SW London pharmacies help over-65s in ICB winter service
Eighty pharmacies across South-West London provided nearly 10,000 interventions in March during an Integrated Care Board-commissioned pilot which was designed to help older people stay healthy in winter.
The pilot, commissioned by South-West London ICB and known as Winter Fit, saw pharmacy teams provide people aged 65 and over with information and guidance as well as referral to other winter-related schemes such as winter warmth, falls prevention, social and activity groups and frailty support.
The PSNC said that by connecting older people to the right services “and providing tailored advice on self-management,” the service helped improve health outcomes and reduce illness and injury. Interventions lasted 15 minutes.
Pharmacy’s negotiator also said it could reduce preventable hospital admissions and GP appointments, strengthen community relationships by fostering “a greater sense of trust and engagement between pharmacists, patients” and other local providers and empower pharmacy teams “to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their elderly customers.”
It is hoped the results of the pilot will lead to a long-term winter pharmacy support service in South-West London. The PSNC said the pilot “worked on the basis that many people might not be aware of the range of help that is out there” and some over-65s “might not be able to navigate the vast amount of information on the internet.”
“Winter Fit is a unique opportunity for community pharmacies to play a pivotal role in supporting the health and wellbeing of our older population,” said Amit Patel, chief officer of Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth LPC.
“By leveraging our accessibility and the trust our patients place in us, we can help bridge the gap between individuals and the support services they need during the winter months, ultimately reducing the burden on the healthcare system and improving overall community health outcomes.”