Commenting in response to the Royal Society for Public Health’s publication of the healthiest and most unhealthy high streets, Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, said:
“Community pharmacies offer enormous benefits to the communities they serve, not only in supplying prescriptions, but through the healthy living advice and services that have been shown to help the public make healthier life choices. Initiatives such as smoking cessation and weight management services are specific examples that can save the NHS millions of pounds in treatment costs further down the line. Community pharmacy teams are also the most accessible healthcare professionals, with 96 per cent of the population being able to walk to a pharmacy in under 20 minutes.
“Pharmacy Voice supports RSPH’s call to make public health a consideration when planning community infrastructure in the future. This also supports NHS England’s call for a radical upgrade in public health prevention. What is important, however, is that the services that these community pharmacies provide, such as the New Medicines Service, stop smoking programmes and health checks, are nationally commissioned, ensuring that national and regional health inequalities are reduced as far as possible. Community pharmacy can do much more than simply dispense medicine; community pharmacy dispenses health.”