Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence



Health Action Zones

  Pharmacies can help bring together local health actors to check for and combat specific diseases. In the Bradford Health Action Zone, for example, Lloydspharmacy initiated a city wide Diabetes Public Awareness Event in 1999, giving the public information in a diabetic "one stop shop".

  The success of this ensured that a steering group was established, in which we are a lead partner, for a repeat event in 2000 aimed at raising awareness of diabetes and informing visitors of available services, education sources, etc. The group included representation from the Bradford Health Action Zone (Diabetes Co-ordinator), A Diabetes Nurse Specialist, A Senior Dietician, a Podiatrist, the British Diabetic Association (BDA) and a GP. The 2000 event attracted 400 visitors under the strapline of "Get Better Informed". A video of the event is enclosed with this letter.

  In Burnley, we also run an indicative-screening diabetic pilot, which has to date detected a 7 per cent under-diagnosis of diabetes. Extending this screening across the country might significantly improve diabetes detection and treatment rates.

Education Action Zones

  Education Action Zone activities can be used to educate local people about their health and to gather data which is of wider use. We believe we are the only community pharmacy group to be partnering an Education Action Zone (EAZ), as we are doing in Dudley.

  In the Dudley EAZ, we are providing a touch screen in our Netherton CHAT Centre for our "Start Here" social support programme. We are running a project at the local senior school to collect the information, transfer it onto the touch screen and demonstrate it to customers, linking in with Age Concern. This will develop community spirit, train a deprived group in IT and develop mentoring skills, often with younger age groups.

  We are also currently working in partnership with the EAZ and Dudley Health Authority's Public Health Department (the Teenage Pregnancy Co-ordinator) to develop an innovative approach to assist with delivery of peer group advice on teenage pregnancy. This will use theatre and video to develop "teenage peer group" messages, hopefully supported with a pharmacy Emergency Contraception plan.

Healthy Living Centres

  We are a lead steering group partner in the Littleport Healthy Living Centre bid in East Cams, currently proceeding to its second stage. We are already particularly involved in improving the provision of, and access to, combined social and health information in Littleport's rural community. The information collected from the "Start Here" touch screens in the Dudley EAZ will provide a useful comparison with a similar exercise to be carried out in Littleport, highlighting the needs of deprived inner city versus rural areas.

  Our interest in Healthy Living Centres grew out of our own CHAT Centre concept, which we have piloted in partnership with Health Authorities and a variety of statutory and voluntary agencies.

  CHAT stands for "Community and Local Healthcare, social and welfare Advice, provided informally by Trained professionals". Part of the pharmacy becomes an informal information centre, providing accessible information on health and social issues. Individual advice is offered at specialist events (eg osteoporosis awareness, healthy eating, smoking cessation, asthma, credit unions, age concern, elderly peoples' rights) at which customers can consult multi-agency advisors without appointment.

  CHAT Centres act as community hubs, sign-posting an array of local services. They reinforce Primary Care Groups' targets and the local Health Improvement Plan. In essence they are embryonic Walk-in-Centres. Centres so far exist in Alfreton, Burnley, Dudley, Clowne, Sandy and Moss-side. Planned Centres include Coventry, Gateshead and Cheltenham.

Primary Care Groups

  Pharmacies can help support GPs activities and reduce the load in numerous ways.

  For example, we help provide new mothers with information and support. Trained "Baby Advisors" work in 740 of our stores, and our staff have received additional specific training in areas of infant nutrition and children's medicines. We have introduced a "Baby Welfare" information pack for expectant and new mothers, which provides social information through a selection of DSS/Benefits Agency leaflets. A "Baby Welfare Advice Pack" is enclosed with this letter.

  As with diabetes, pharmacies' pivotal position in communities enables them to support other healthcare professionals by offering checks. Our "Healthy Heart Check", for example, combines technology with personal advice to customers on their cardiac status, with the aim of encouraging people to pursue healthier lifestyles. Although it is a paid-for service at the moment, we are negotiating with possible partners to allow it to be extended free of charge to deprived communities. A deprived community can be measured on its willingness to adopt lifestyle change, which would enable delivery of improved health outcomes, particularly in relation to coronary heart disease incidence.

Broadening the current public health model

  Our Healthy Living Centre and Education Action Zone work brought home to us that health and social care decision-makers need to improve their understanding of how the arts, health, education and social care can combine to improve public health.

  Pharmacies have a role in integrating the arts, health, education and social care, offering a total package to members of underprivileged communities that will serve to increase their self-esteem and self worth. We can also educate people and therefore help them to make informed social and healthcare decisions, which will ultimately improve their well being.

  In February 2000, we organised the first "social pharmacy" conference, entitled Networking, bringing together professionals covering health, social, local council, arts (notably drama) and the clergy to explore multi-disciplinary working. The 150 attendees included the Department of Health, Directors of Public Health, University Department Heads, health authorities and hospital managers. Speakers suggested that healthcare had become too "medicalised", relying on drugs to treat disease rather than addressing quality of life and health inequality issues.

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Prepared 28 March 2001