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“2020health is an important and thoughtful contributor to the health debate”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee

 
 

The Guardian Adopting a pharmacy-first approach can improve health and wellbeing

Pharmacists could alleviate pressure on GPs, who currently undertake 57 million consultations for minor ailments yearly

As the responsibility for public health is put into the hands of local councils, the pressure is on for clinical commissioning groups to improve the quality of service provided to the public. A new report, The Wells Family Challenge: A Pharmacist First Approach, suggests that pharmacists could transform the improvement of health and wellbeing in local communities.

The report, which 2020health worked on closely with the Sainsbury's Pharmacy team, assesses the impact of in-store pharmacy advice on the health and lifestyles of 10 families. Although undertaken on a small scale, the results suggest minimum intervention from a pharmacist over a small amount of time could have a significant impact on public health if replicated on a larger scale. The pharmacists involved in the challenge improved health literacy levels, and in doing so provided much more than a service to treat coughs and colds. They actually helped prevent illness – a function that GP surgeries are not always able to fulfil due to competing demands. This demonstrated that they could play a role in alleviating pressure on GPs who currently undertake 57 million consultations each year for minor ailments that could have been dealt with by a pharmacist.