Pharmacies in Kent already offer a wide range of services to help people stay healthy. Now some of our pharmacies are among the first in the country to become official Healthy Living Pharmacies with a mission to provide even more support to people who want to improve their health.

At a Healthy Living Pharmacy Accreditation Awards evening 17 Healthy Living Pharmacies, spanning Kent from Dartford in the North West to Dover in the South East, achieved Healthy Living Pharmacy accreditation status. Tonbridge, Headcorn, Chatham, Hawkinge, Charing, Broadstairs and Ramsgate were just some of the other places that received awards.

Andrew Scott-Clark, Director of Health Improvement for Kent, who gave the awards, said: “Kent is among only 20 national pathfinder sites for Healthy Living Pharmacies, originally developed by NHS Portsmouth. I am extremely impressed with the level of commitment all of these pharmacies have demonstrated in achieving the Healthy Living Pharmacy accreditation and I would like to sincerely thank all the pharmacies involved.
“This is an exciting time for the pharmacy profession in general. Community pharmacies make a significant contribution to protecting and improving the health of local populations.”

To achieve accreditation, the 17 pharmacies reached the standards in a range of areas needed for a Quality Mark. These include providing patients and the public with two enhanced services such as stop smoking support or emergency hormonal contraception, as well as advanced services such as medicine use reviews and the New Medicine Service which provides support for people with long term conditions. Healthy Living Pharmacies each have a Healthy Living Champion within their staff team, offering specialist confidential one-to-one advice and guidance and signposting on issues such as losing weight, tackling excess drinking and other lifestyle challenges. Champions can also help people with long term conditions such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis, to monitor their own health, reducing their need to see their GPs. They are also required to undertake further staff training and development and build good links with other community organisations and services such as schools and nursing homes.

Field Pharmacy in Minster, Kent was one of the pharmacies to achieve accreditation on the evening. Pharmacist Gill Field said: “At Field Pharmacy we have increased our health promotion activity with eye-catching window displays to encourage people to come in store and talk to us about health matters or issues they may have. We also provide more health literature that people can take away with them.

“As a Healthy Living Pharmacy, in addition to providing weight management, stopping smoking and other enhanced services, we now provide a blood pressure monitoring service.” Liz Shervington and Karen Jacobs are both Healthy Living Champions at Field Pharmacy and have been working with local secondary schools to promote healthy weight management. They also plan to increase awareness of breast cancer and start running Macmillan coffee mornings. In Headcorn, Andrew Wilson, pharmacist of Ferris Chemist said: “I am delighted that our pharmacy has achieved the Healthy Living Pharmacy status as it highlights the range of healthy lifestyle help and support we offer to our local community.” “As well as smoking cessation and weight management which is a new non NHS service, we provide a supervised methadone service for patients and travel medicines. We are also looking at providing more advice to women around smoking in pregnancy.”

Wave 2 of the Healthy Living Pharmacy Project will be starting early in the New Year and it is hoped that a similar number of pharmacies will be accredited. All of the county’s pharmacies offer expert, confidential advice, including the treatment of minor illnesses, which can mean there is no need to see your GP. Most pharmacies have consulting rooms where you can speak to the pharmacist in private. Most pharmacists will be able to speak with you within minutes and if it is very busy may ask you to come back when it is quieter to have a longer discussion. Community pharmacists are knowledgeable healthcare professionals who are accessible to everyone, so make use of the excellent services available on your doorstep and talk to your local pharmacist or nearest Healthy Living Champion about some of the healthcare services you may need.
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