Diabetes and community pharmacy – a clinical success story

Deep Patel, NHS excellence manager at Celesio UK, which includes LloydsPharmacy, takes a look at the impact community pharmacy has had on diabetes care. As a pharmacist, he says his profession should be called on even more to tackle the increasingly common condition. 

Screening for diabetes in pharmacy is one of the real success stories for both the NHS and for pharmacy. It has helped us as a profession to prove that we can play a greater clinical role within our communities and has delivered improved patient outcomes.

Since 2003, our LloydsPharmacy teams have delivered over 1.1m diabetes tests and last month; we have reached 10,000 patient referrals as part of the NHS diabetes prevention programme which was launched in 2016.

As much as we should be proud of how pharmacy has stepped up so far, the diabetes challenge remains an epic one. Our NHS spends around 10% of their funding on diabetes and related complications, which means it’s so important to enhance prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The obesity crisis means that the amount of people living with Type 2 diabetes is rising and expected to reach four million by 2025. These figures highlight the risk that diabetes poses to our nation’s health and as ever, we must be prepared to tackle them head on.

Studies show that the involvement of pharmacists in diabetes management improves adherence to treatment regimes. We know that non-adherence, intentional or unintentional can have adverse effects of a patients health. It therefore makes perfect sense to utilise community pharmacy to help the government battle against the growing diabetes challenge.

It can be easy to overlook the importance of where services are delivered, but it’s clear that pharmacy and diabetes go hand in hand – not just for treatment and testing. Pharmacists are ideally placed to support patients with advice and guidance on medicines, lifestyle and diet. Our stores are also a fantastic source of information; as healthy living hubs, we can signpost patients to other local health services where appropriate.

There has been a significant shift in focus for patients requiring diabetes care in recent years. Where once they relied heavily on GP availability and outpatient clinics, community pharmacy is now seen as the go-to place for screening and support. Pharmacists now have their trusted hands firmly on the wheel and are ready to navigate through the nation’s growing diabetes challenge.

So whether it’s raising awareness of the condition, conducting screening services, supporting existing patients or delivering associated services such as how to check your feet, LloydsPharmacy is committed to being a diabetes support network.