Community pharmacies across the county are boosting their services to help people live healthier lives.

Community pharmacies already play an important role in supporting the health and wellbeing of their communities.

Now, a number of pharmacies in Gloucestershire are focussing their services and the advice they offer to help people change their lifestyles and improve their health and wellbeing.

These Healthy Living Pharmacies (HLPs) are part of a programme that accredits pharmacies to deliver a broader range of support services and expert advice.

They can be identified by their HLP logo, and each has one or more Healthy Living Champions, in-store experts on finding healthy lifestyle information and local services. As there is no need to make an appointment, people find HLPs very easy to access.

Eight pharmacies in Gloucestershire were granted the quality mark at a celebratory event. They are set to be joined over the next year by a further 46 pharmacies across the county, all seeking to achieve the HLP quality standard.

Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Helen Miller, said:

“It’s great to see how committed Healthy Living Pharmacies are to improving the health and wellbeing of their communities.

They demonstrate the value that pharmacists add to local healthcare provision, providing expert advice on a range of areas, from emergency contraception to help with losing weight, stopping smoking and using medications to best effect.

I would like to congratulate all of our Healthy Living Pharmacies as well as our aspiring Healthy Living Pharmacies on their achievements and the changes they have helped deliver.”

Cllr Dorcas Binns, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said:

“Preventing ill-health is a top priority for the county. This can only be achieved by working together and we all have a role to play in helping local people to stay healthy.

Pharmacies are already recognised as a trusted source of expert advice. Situated in the heart of the community, they have the potential to make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of our people in Gloucestershire.”

To be awarded Healthy Living Pharmacy status, pharmacy teams have to demonstrate and apply a healthy living ethos throughout their daily practice and provide advice on a range of lifestyle related health issues, including quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, managing a health condition, and sexual health concerns.

Penny Rae of Drybrook Pharmacy on receiving HLP accreditation, said:

 “The Healthy Living Pharmacy programme has provided the pharmacy team with a new focus and enthusiasm for our role in improving health and wellbeing as well as an opportunity to work with partner agencies to promote health in the community. The training has extended staff’s expertise, and we are now actively engaging with customers around the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices.”

Chris Gifkins from Gloucestershire Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said:

 “We are delighted that these eight pharmacies have had their hard work and dedication recognised with Healthy Living Pharmacy status and we look forward to every pharmacy in Gloucestershire having the opportunity to gain this quality mark.”

The programme is being driven by Gloucestershire County Council Public Health and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, in partnership with the Local Pharmaceutical Committee and NHS England.