Following the launch of Public Health England's Better Health campaign to support patients with obesity and reduce the risk of serious illness, Claire Anderson, Chair of English Pharmacy Board, said:
“We welcome Public Health England’s renewed focus on supporting people to lead healthier lives and reduce their risk of serious illnesses, particularly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the evidence coming out.
“As the third largest profession, pharmacy should be at the centre of any plan to the prevention agenda, supporting weight management and reducing the risk of serious illness such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. We know that prevention is better than cure and our profession continue this work when supporting the health of our patients.
"As Healthy Living Pharmacies, community pharmacies are best placed as accessible health centres, particularly for those in deprived areas and already play a huge role in reducing the health inequalities, supporting those groups at high risk of Covid-19.
“The pandemic has emphasised that collaborative working across healthcare and will be essential for the success of this strategy. We want to see more integrated working across the NHS to ensure the best patient care possible, including more social prescribing referrals and linking up Primary Care Networks further with community pharmacies.
“It is becoming more obvious that A&E referrals and GP appointments can be treated elsewhere and pharmacies are well placed to ease pressures on other NHS services by supporting people with general wellbeing issues, such as obesity. We now need the backing from the Government and NHS to build on the work our profession continues to do on a daily basis.”