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
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
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
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