18 Sep 2017 Guest Blog: Healthy Living Pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside
Hassan Argomandkhah FRPharmS is the Chair of Merseyside Local Professional Network and Bruce Prentice MRPharms is a Clinical Adviser to NHS England in Cheshire and Merseyside.
Our experience, getting Healthy Living Pharmacy established in Cheshire and Merseyside, has shown us that HLPs are fantastically engaged with their communities.
Take this week; 18 September 2017 as an example. With the support of NHS England and local Public Health colleagues, 120 of the HLPs in Cheshire and Merseyside are once again involved in the Know Your Numbers national campaign (http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/kyn/Home).
By doing so they will be providing members of the public with free blood pressure measurements and advice on how to look after their heart and stay healthy. Community pharmacies are ideally placed to offer these services as the local population prefer the informal setting of HLPs to engage about what really matters to them, the “health of their families”.
The HLPs have had to gain additional training and many of their staff are health champions qualified to a Royal Society of Public Health qualification. This means they are able to engage and provide information and support to their communities to live a healthier and balanced life.
Why not pop into your local pharmacy and see if they are a HLP yet?
Members of the public may have raised BP without experiencing any other symptoms and knowing your numbers is the easiest way to know if you may have an underlying issue and get advice on what you can do to avoid future complications such as stroke, heart attack, and damaged kidneys.
Additionally, all the local authorities, Local NHS commissioning groups and NHS England in Cheshire and Merseyside have been working together to deliver a blood pressure strategy. The Local Professional Network (LPN) for pharmacy have positioned the HLPs as a key component of this strategy to identify over 260,000 adults with raised BP living in the area.
The pharmacies can also provide help and support to manage treatments for patients already receiving medication to manage their BP.
Eating healthy and doing regular exercise can help you to reduce the risk of having raised BP, your HLP Health champions can check your BP and provide you with the advise or sign post you to other services that can support you living healthier.
There are plenty of advice out there but knowing which one to follow can be overwhelming. Your health champion will be able to provide you with advise that has been approved by the local and national experts.
My advice to you in a nutshell, is visit your community pharmacy and trust the experts in medicines. Whilst there check if they are HLP or on the path to become one, use their local expertise on health matters and take steps to improve your heath.
NHS England have jointly worked with community pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside to deliver over 300 healthy living pharmacies (HLPs) in the area.