News story

The role of community pharmacies in public health

Progress report informs the development of evidence and research on community pharmacy’s contribution to public health.

A Pharmacy and Public Health Forum progress report published today (Thursday 16 January) by Public Health England (PHE), details the development of evidence and research on community pharmacy’s contribution to public health.

The forum was set up by Earl Howe in response to proposals from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and professional leaders to bring together pharmacy and public health interests.

One of the forum’s priorities has been to evaluate and strengthen the evidence base for community pharmacy’s potential contribution to public health, and to deliver the necessary work programme required.

Professor John Newton, Chief Knowledge Officer at PHE, said:

Community Pharmacy has great potential as a setting for people to stop and think about their health, and to get advice and support from someone they trust. Many pharmacy teams are already playing a significant role in promoting and improving people’s health in their local communities. We need to understand how delivery of public health services in local pharmacies could contribute to improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities in those communities.

Additional research is needed into the effectiveness of delivering and promoting public health services to local populations through pharmacy. The Forum has started to assess and develop community pharmacy’s contribution to public health, but there is still a lot more to be done on this topic.

Kevin Fenton, Director for Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said:

Community pharmacies are crucial to any neighbourhood’s local health. They’re often one of the first health points of contact for families, which is why recognising the extent of their importance and understanding their role is key to their involvement in public health. The numerous advice and interventions they offer are able to help people in communities such as their stop smoking services to help people quit and weight management services to promote healthier eating and lifestyles.

This report was put together by Task Group 3 of the Forum, which is chaired by Professor Newton of PHE. The Group’s responsibility is to consolidate and develop the evidence base and research.