Pharmacies can take the lead post-pandemic
Community pharmacy can help shape and influence the provision and commissioning of more local public health services across England, says Jeremy Meader…
It is fair to say lockdown life has taken its toll on the health of our nation. While some people have been able to boost their physical health during this time, a recent Numark study revealed that one-third of UK adults feel unhealthier now compared to before the start of the pandemic.
Sadly, a deteriorating health picture for the UK emerges in the wake of Covid-19. Whether it is excess pounds, increased alcohol intake or less exercise being taken, it is important adults take the necessary steps to identify these risk factors and get support to act on them in the wake of this pandemic.
Community pharmacy is well placed to help lead these supportive conversations. As a vital third pillar of the NHS, community pharmacy offers a convenient and accessible first port of call for everyday health – including physical health conditions such as heart disease, cholesterol and diabetes.
In the wake of the pandemic, pharmacy teams can play a pivotal role by elevating the importance of everyday health within the pharmacy and enhancing their service offer. By shining a light on the potentially damaging impact Covid-19 has had on general everyday health, community pharmacies can help keep adult health better in-check for the months ahead.
Specifically, there is mounting pressure on the nation’s heart health as adults come out of this pandemic at their heaviest and most unfit, but it is encouraging our study uncovered nearly two-fifths of adults are focused on improving their health post-lockdown.
There has never been a better time to maximise Healthy Living Pharmacy accreditation and for pharmacies to truly operate as a beacon of support for community health. Creating welcome physical as well as virtual spaces for positive wellbeing will help community pharmacy further champion the importance of everyday good health.
In response to the changing shape of community health, Numark has unveiled a free Heart Health Check pilot service across part of our UK pharmacy network. It comes as more than three-fifths of adults acknowledged interest in accessing health checks from a community pharmacy, once lockdown restrictions eased.
Working together, community pharmacy has the power to help curb the increased health risks lockdown restrictions have imposed on the health of the nation. By taking learnings from more community-led health and wellbeing pilots, pharmacy can also hopefully help shape and influence further provision and commission of more local public health services across England.
After all, community pharmacy is committed to offering face-to-face healthcare advice and treatment across all areas of everyday health and wellbeing.
Future pharmacy growth is reliant on finding new and innovative ways to best engage online audiences and help drive physical visits to the pharmacy itself. Keeping abreast of local health inequalities and trends will only help pharmacy teams become better equipped to tailor health services and advice for customers in the future.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed customer behaviour and habits but trust and convenience remain the mainstay of community pharmacy.
Bricks-and-mortar pharmacies together help champion accessible everyday health – we know customers actively want to improve their health in the wake of this pandemic, so it’s just a case of reinforcing pharmacy doors are open to help restore and retain positive wellbeing for a healthier future.
Jeremy Meader is the managing director of Numark.