Britain is facing a healthcare crisis every bit as one in three middle-aged people report multiple chronic health issues, Margaret MacRury, Superintendent Director at Rowlands Pharmacy said.
The statistics have been derived from a University College London survey recently reported in the journal BMC Public Health. The survey periodically tracks the lives of over 17,000 people born in England, Scotland, and Wales.
“For so many people who are relatively young to live with chronic conditions, many of which are lifestyle-related and therefore avoidable is a clear sign our healthcare eco-system needs to change. At the heart of that change must be a government promoted enhanced role for community pharmacies as local healthcare hubs where people can easily access professional support and advice to live healthier lives,” MacRury said.
“If this were Covid-related, government action would have been swift, but the health implications for our nation are every bit as serious: we are looking at avoidable deaths, disability, and increased strain on an already overstretched NHS. We need action now to invest in the community pharmacy network to turn back this tide of ill-health,” she added.
The government needs to act with urgency to avoid worsening of conditions for middle-aged people, requiring extensive and expensive NHS and social care treatment, she said.
“We need them to allow community pharmacies to be involved in the frontline fight against this ill-health pandemic by investing more in community pharmacy: GPs do an outstanding job, but they – and patients – need support from allied healthcare professionals,” MacRury said.
The survey indicates that integrated care should transform into reality, she said.
“In Scotland, Pharmacy First is making an impact providing the right care at the right time with the most appropriate healthcare professional, with Wales following a similar model. In England, regrettably, community pharmacy remains a poorly funded afterthought in the drive to improve healthcare outcomes. I hope the UCL survey will be a wake-up call to policymakers that we need to use community-based healthcare assets such as pharmacies in order to address this ill-health tsunami,” she added.