Healthy living pharmacy (HLP) is something of a gold standard for the pharmacy profession. It guarantees that when a patient or customer walks into the pharmacy they will receive a certain standard of advice, and sound information about particular conditions that can be treated and managed with the support and medication pharmacy offers, or that they will be referred to the most appropriate alternative healthcare professional. They can be reassured by the fact that the pharmacy and its staff have achieved accreditation for providing excellent pharmacy services.
What does it mean for the pharmacy? Of course, there are commercial implications, and in the current climate it is a good plan to look at any options for developing revenue, as Warman-Freed Pharmacy general manager Farah Ali explains.
“For us, the impact of the cuts has meant that we have lost one full-time and one part-time member of staff, being unable to back-fill for staff who left the business. We’ve also had to think how we can recuperate some of that lost revenue, what our areas of focus will be going forward, and, importantly, how we will maximise income from the government’s Quality Payment Scheme (QPS). As a manager, I am exploring all opportunities to save costs, minimise spending and improve profit margins, and HLP accreditation will add QPS points, as well as much needed income.”
There are more indirect benefits too. “By becoming an HLP, we will see an increase in footfall and opportunities to grow service income through MURs and the NMS. It can also drive prescription volume and retail sales.”
However, the rewards of becoming an HLP go far beyond the financial, according to Ms Ali. “HLP status sets professional standards across the pharmacy and offers a framework to ensure these standards are maintained. It provides a blueprint for staff training around leadership, customer service, conversational skills and self care awareness. This in turn offers a real boost to staff moral and retention, as well as making a tangible difference to the community around them.”
As the Warman-Freed team prepared to complete Level 1 of the accreditation process, Ms Ali said the initiative was already having an impact. “We have created a detailed timeline and plan to complete necessary training ahead of the November QPS checkpoint. This means we are focused, aligned as a team, and all engaged to ensure we are compliant and able to self-declare for accreditation.”
And while it is early days, Ms Ali is convinced that greater awareness of the initiative, both within the pharmacy profession and beyond, will benefit the sector as a whole. “HLP will raise customer and patient confidence in pharmacies and the services they offer. It will also raise the profile and status of pharmacy both within other healthcare professions and across the wider public. Minor conditions can be treated within the pharmacy through better training and tools, and the pharmacy will increasingly be seen as the first port of call rather than the GP or A&E. This will be clearly be of wider benefit to an already stretched NHS.”
Thorough and methodical record keeping makes the process easier to manage: