Pharmacists to initiate conversation on patient's unhealthy habits

Consumer

During a transaction at the counter, community pharmacists may be inquired to initiate a general conversation with patients, to encourage them to cut down on their drinking, smoking and eating habits, due to a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) draft on ‘Community pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing.’ Pharmacists have also been asked to record the number of people who utilise pharmacies for advice on wellbeing, including patients who are happy with the information they are provided with.

Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Pharmacy Board, Claire Anderson, stated: “When someone regularly collects a repeat prescription and they have diabetes or high blood pressure, a pharmacist may ask them if they smoke and about other lifestyle issues. Pharmacists can also make a brief intervention providing education and advice on how to improve their diet, be more physically active, stop smoking or reduce their alcohol intake to help their condition and improve their wellbeing. Many pharmacists are stressed and overworked, this will not necessarily place undue burden on community pharmacists. The RPS has long called for community pharmacists to have read write access to a clinical record and to be better integrated into referral pathways.”

“Community pharmacists may be inquired to initiate a general conversation with patients, to encourage them to cut down on their drinking, smoking and eating habits“

The draft stated: “The informal setting may encourage people to ask more questions, consider how they feel or how their lifestyle may be affecting their health. Community pharmacy teams can offer support with adopting a healthier lifestyle, including stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and managing weight. Many pharmacists are well established within the community, have good relationships with the local population and a good understanding of their needs and the challenges some individuals face.”

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