NPA responds to NICE’s community pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing consultation

Image of drugs and words GP and Pharmacy NPA responds to NICE's community pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing consultation

The NPA has responded positively to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) consultation on a quality standard for Community pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing.

The quality standard describes high-quality care and is intended for reference by commissioners, service providers, health care practitioners and the public.

In its formal submission to the consultation, the NPA said:

  • Pharmacists already have a long track-record in health promotion, for example helping thousands of people each month to quit smoking. This quality standard helpfully acknowledges the huge potential that pharmacies have to help people stay well, as well as treat people when they are poorly.
  • It is right that the draft standard highlights the importance of pharmacies and local commissioners working together to integrate community pharmacy services into existing care and referral pathways.  Community pharmacy can more fully contribute to health improvement as part of a multi-disciplinary team, especially if it covers both health and social care.
  • NICE has correctly identified other areas key to quality improvement, namely:
    • Local commissioners and pharmacies working together to promote healthcare services and support available from community pharmacies.
    • Local commissioners and pharmacies working together to establish population needs, identify gaps in services and agree actions to address health inequalities.
    • Ensuring that people who have a long-term health condition or need support to adopt a healthier lifestyle are offered health and wellbeing advice and education when they use community pharmacy services.

The launch of this consultation in January led to a contentious television discussion (on ITV’s This Morning) about the appropriateness of pharmacists raising lifestyle issues with customers, including weight management. The NPA was among over 3,000 complainants to OFCOM about that broadcast, in which pharmacists were described as “pretend doctors” by a studio guest.