In our latest article reminding NHS England that all community pharmacies are clinical, we profile The Old Pharmacy in Hampshire…

 

The team at The Old Pharmacy in Emsworth, Hampshire, pride themselves on supporting the local community with a range of healthcare support.

The pharmacy is steeped in history having been established in 1812 and current owner John Preddy has been instrumental in developing a range of services to meet the challenges of the changing landscape of community pharmacy.

Situated in a small but affluent hamlet, the pharmacy dispenses between 6,000 and 7,000 prescriptions each month and has a healthy retail business, with one in two customers making an OTC purchase alongside their prescription collection. The pharmacy’s demographic comprises mainly of over-60s who have a range of healthcare needs.

To reflect the increasing demand for service provision the counter team are five-strong and as well as providing services such as flu, MURs, NMS and EHC, the pharmacy recently started work towards becoming HLP-accredited – and they are loving it!

Healthcare champions Hannah Sedgwick and Sue Rook have fully embraced the healthy living concept and are clearly making a difference in their communities.

“We started our HLP campaigns in April this year and it has transformed our outlook on delivering services, mainly because of the impact it has had,” Hannah said.

“We are passionate about HLP and so pushed hard to implement it within the pharmacy. It was obvious to us the importance of being the front-line of providing healthcare and support, but many patients were more often than not booking appointments to see their GP, some having to wait days to be seen.

“This felt counterintuitive. We have the team and skills to be able to provide support across a range of healthcare needs so working towards becoming a HLP really was a no-brainer.

“Our first campaign centred around healthy living, predominantly weight management and exercise. With the majority of customers being over 60, we wanted to emphasise the importance of exercise to not only reduce the propensity for weight-related chronic diseases, but also show how healthy living can prolong life expectancy.

“I’ll be honest, we were met with some scepticism at first as many of our patients thought exercise had to involve hardcore cardio or strenuous activity. We felt it incredibly important to demonstrate that actually exercise can be as little as walking to a bus stop a little further down the road, taking the stairs instead of the lift or just a steady walk around the block.

“Indeed some exercise regimes can be done from your armchair! We were soon able to show our over-60s that little and often really does go a long way to leading a healthy lifestyle and support weight management.”

The pharmacy has developed a series of window posters and leaflets using facts and figures it found on a number of different websites. Its displays combine information about healthy eating and a range of over-the-counter weight management products which has also helped to increase its OTC sales.

“We tied our event in with the government’s ‘10 Steps to an Active You’ campaign which really boosted awareness within our community,” Hannah says.

“Since then we have run a skin cancer awareness campaign to coincide with the summer months. As with our healthy living campaign, we raised awareness through the use of marketing materials which we put on display with a range of sun protection and self-tan products.

“Sue and I researched the different types of skin cancer and the danger signs to look out for. This was by far our most successful campaign. One particular patient was referred to his GP; he’d had a mole for a number of months that had all the warning signs.

“Personally, and I can confidently speak on behalf of Sue, developing HLP campaigns has rekindled our passion for pharmacy. We get a huge sense of job satisfaction and have built up some incredible relationships with our patients that we know will come back to us time and time again.

“We have also built relationships with our local GP surgery as they can see the good work we are doing in triaging patients and reducing the pressure through unnecessary visits.

“I’d like to think we’ve made a difference to people lives through our campaigns. We’ve certainly put our name on the map. Pharmacy must differentiate in today’s environment. We have to be at the heart of health for our community, be that through services, advice or clinical excellence.”

 

Pharmacy Business would like to thank Numark for contributing this article.

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