Community Pharmacy Based Public Health Services
Local authority-based public health is responsible for commissioning a number of services from NHS community pharmacies that can help improve the health and well-being of its population. These services are described here.
Healthy Living Pharmacies
All pharmacies can offer free advice to support self-care for many minor health-related conditions and lifestyle advice related to specific health conditions such as cardio-vascular disease or diabetes.
Some pharmacies are being supported by the public health department of your local authority to undergo enhanced training and offer a much wider range of lifestyle advice and services, and be involved with their communities in a much more proactive way. You might already have seen the ‘Healthy Living Pharmacy’ logo or some activities in your pharmacy.
Stop Smoking Services
A number of pharmacies are commissioned to provide support to help people who want to quit smoking. The stop smoking service includes; nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) treatment (free to those who don’t pay for their prescriptions), ongoing motivational support and appropriate monitoring / follow up for up to 12 weeks.
Some of these pharmacies (highlighted in red on the list found by clicking the link) are also able to support smokers under 16 years of age and pregnant smokers to quit.
Healthy Start Vitamins Supplies
National and local vouchers (issued by Health Visitors) can be exchanged for free supplies of Healthy Start Vitamins in community pharmacies across the Borough. Vouchers will be issued locally to;
- All pregnant women and breastfeeding women with a child under 1 year old
- All children above the appropriate minimum age threshold (usually six months old) until their fourth birthday
Sexual Health Services
Community pharmacies may offer several services in support of sexual health; these can include:
- Emergency Oral Hormonal Contraception (EOHC), sometimes known as the ‘morning-after pill’ – for women, including young women over 14 years of age, at risk of pregnancy as a consequence of unprotected sex. After a private consultation with a pharmacist to determine clinical eligibility, EOHC is provided free to those women who don’t pay for their prescriptions
- Chlamydia screening – confidential consultation, free testing kit and advice to enable a test to be completed in a convenient location
- The C-Card condom supply service – Pharmacies will complete a personal registration for this service, and supply free condoms and advice in accordance with the scheme on presentation of the ‘C-Card’.
The public health consequences of drug misuse are significant. The main primary harm to drug misusers is the transmission of blood borne viruses, including e.g. Hepatitis B, C and HIV.
To help minimise the harm to both the drug misuser and the wider population caused by injecting, a number of community pharmacies are able to offer the following services;
Provision of sterile needles, syringes and associated materials to drug misusers,
- Receiving from drug misusers used needles, syringes and associated materials for safe disposal
- Providing suitable advice to drug misusers and where appropriate, advising on how to access another health care professional, or a specialist drug treatment provider, or harm minimisation provider.
Supervised Self-Administration of Methadone, Buprenorphine and Suboxone® for the treatment of Drug Misuse
One element of a recovery-focused drug treatment journey for opiate users is the opportunity to access pharmacological interventions, including the prescribing of substitute medication such as methadone or buprenorphine.
Supervised self-administration of these substitute medications supports the users to comply with their prescribing regime. Supervision also helps minimise mis-direction or diversion of the substitute medication.
A number of community pharmacies provide this service to opiate users within the Borough. As part of the treatment plan, the treatment provider and service user will mutually agree a convenient pharmacy for them attend.