MP gets hands on experience at local pharmacy

Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Andy Sawford visited one of his local Lloydspharmacy branches last week (Friday 16 August) to see how pharmacy can help improve community healthcare.

Lloydspharmacy invited the MP to its pharmacy adjacent to Cottonfields Medical centre, Raunds, after he asked questions in Parliament about how changes to the organisation of the NHS could help enhance community pharmacy services.

Mr Sawford heard how Lloydspharmacy offers a range of services to patients, such as free Type 2 diabetes screening, a stop smoking service, asthma advice and blood pressure testing.

He said: “Seeing how a local pharmacy is delivering these healthcare services within the local community is very encouraging.

“Within my constituency, smoking and diabetes are pressing health issues. If we can intervene early by testing patients and offering health advice, we can avoid fatal diseases such as heart disease and cancer and the pressure that these put on the NHS.

“With the recent changes to the NHS’s structure, I think it is important that local commissioning arrangements offer support and funding to community pharmacies. Making the most of preventative services like these is essential for the wellbeing of people in this area and to make the most of limited NHS resources.

“People often don’t realise that pharmacists receive many years of clinical training and are able to provide high quality advice at a location that is close by.”

Andy Murdock, external relations and policy director for Celesio UK, said: “We are delighted to be able to show Andy how pharmacy can play an important part in improving health at a local level.

“Lloydspharmacy customers can access health check services at many of our pharmacies, from medicine reviews to cholesterol and heart checks.

“Through our successful Type 2 diabetes screening programme, we have checked more than 1.5 million people over 10 years. Of these, 75,000 have been referred to their GP for further tests.

“As well as these services being free to patients, the fact that our pharmacies are situated in the heart of local communities puts us in an ideal position to engage with the public. We hope to work with the NHS to expand this provision in the future.”