Pharmacy is at the forefront of making every contact count when it comes to improving the public’s health. Pharmacists work alongside fellow medical and nursing health professionals as an active part of NHS delivery of public health. Right now, around the country, pharmacists are helping people with sexual health problems, helping people quit smoking, addressing alcohol and substance misuse, and providing weight management, screening and vaccinations.
This is on top of the provision of advice and support around self care and expertise on all aspects of medicines from community pharmacists. The results of a national evaluation of 'Healthy Living Pharmacies', where pharmacists and their teams focus on health improvement as part of a structured offer to the public, showed marked success in chlamydia screening and quitting smoking. We would urge Local Authorities to follow this evidence trail and back a full roll out of Healthy Living Pharmacies in their locality.
Sandra Gidley, Chair, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, English Pharmacy Board
We welcome this report from RSPH, which recognises firefighters’ unique position to help people – especially the most vulnerable – to improve their health and wellbeing. Our firefighters are trusted and respected and visit thousands of residents every year in their own home.
Tackling health inequalities is now a key part of our long-established prevention work. We understand the clear links between risk of house fires and issues such as smoking, mental health, alcohol and substance misuse, and poor housing. It makes sense for firefighters to be involved in tackling these health issues as a long-term investment in reducing the risk of fire.
Gary Taylor, Assistant Chief Fire Officer with West Midlands Fire Service
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is already playing its part in improving public health in the city region. Our staff, including firefighters, have been working in our communities to identify those who might be vulnerable or at risk and, where we can’t remove or reduce the risk, passing this information onto other professional colleagues, such as Social Workers, that are better placed to help. We are completing Falls Assessments where we identify people as being frail or at risk of falling.
We are also fitting handrails to prevent falling. We are proud to help and will be expanding our role in this area significantly in the coming weeks and months. I would encourage everyone to contact us directly if they think we can help! Is a neighbour or relative living in a home that is obviously cold? Does it take them a long time to get out of a chair or walk a short distance, or are they living alone without regular contact from anyone? We don’t need specialist training to help these people – we just need information to connect with them. If it was my family, that’s what I would want.
Peter O’Reilly, County Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
The Allied Health Professions Federation, as a federation of 12 professional bodies, is ideally placed to enable citizens to be aware of living healthier and, if this is not possible, in managing their long term condition as best as they can. As a workforce, we already work across health and care as well as in schools and academia. We have a history of ensuring the health and well being of the population, in delivering the prevention agenda and ensuring people regain their health as quickly as possible after injury or illness.
Lesley Anne Baxter, Vice Chair, Allied Health Professions Federation
As the RSPH report identifies community pharmacy is an early-adopter in tackling public health and the almost 73,000 trained individuals in pharmacy teams could help to deliver the step-change we need. Our accessibility and opportunity to engage people about public health issues before they result in more serious medical conditions are a huge asset.
At Pharmacy Voice we know numerous examples of local teams making a difference to peoples’ lives whether it be tackling obesity through weight management programmes or gaining impressive quit rates through smoking cessation programmes. Yet these services are only available in select locations which lets the public down. We need more services to be commissioned via a national framework and ensure that they are fairly remunerated. This will ensure that national and regional health inequalities are reduced as far as possible.
Rob Darracott, Chief Executive, Pharmacy Voice
I am delighted to see the role of the Housing and Housing Support workforce recognised in this ground breaking report on the wider workforce. It is important to have housing recognised as an early adopter and our recent research on behalf of PHE showed that there were already large amounts of activity within the housing sector which was contributing to the delivery of health conversations, supporting positive behaviour change and increased partnership working across health and housing.
The housing workforce has huge amounts to contribute to this positive agenda, as one of the key trusted professionals crossing the threshold. In addition, housing provides a critical piece of the healthy living jigsaw, contributing invaluable expertise on the impact of the built environment on an individual’s ability to enjoy healthy independent lives at home.
Vic Rayner, CEO, Sitra
We have over 200,000 barbers and hairdressers nationally and many enjoy a trusted and long standing relationship with customers. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our customers isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense, and we believe that our sector can and should be part of the wider public health movement.
Huge potential exists to build on the relationship between hairdressers and barbers and their customers to discuss lifestyle health issues; obviously this needs to be handled in a sensitive manner, but there is a possibility to develop this further and signpost customers to health advice and support, if customers indicate this is something they’d be interested in.
Mike Taylor, Director, British Barbers' Association