'I absolutely agree that pharmacists should lead the way by being healthy themselves. As healthcare professionals, we should be beacons of the good health and active lifestyles that we promote and advise on a daily basis. To not do so would be hypocritical. How would patients and the general public digest healthy advice provided by an overweight pharmacist who had been eating fast food and smoking cigarettes on their lunch break?'
Nawaz Mohamed, locum pharmacist, Sheffield
'Absolutely, we must all lead the way with healthy lifestyles and advice. For us, it’s part of our journey at our pharmacy’s wellness centre. And I don’t mean that we should be pumping iron – I mean addressing our whole health. We’re a diverse team physically, each with our own issues, but we do what we can to encourage healthy eating, living and self-awareness. Our next team meeting will include a session on creative thinking with our resident counsellor to see how that can enhance team working, stress reduction and a sense of supporting each other. Now, if only the NHS could ease up on the stress-inducing part!'
Alison Sparkes, The Medicine Centre, Neath
'It’s all about making an informed choice for ourselves and imparting the knowledge onto our patients for them to make their choices. We cannot be dictatorial.'
Sultan ‘Sid’ Dajani, Wainwrights Chemist, Bishopstoke
'Pharmacy teams are always giving healthy lifestyle advice, whether it is over the counter, a consultation or as part of a service, eg in an MUR. I believe it is very important to practise what you preach, but even those who work in pharmacy are not angels. In previous roles I have witnessed pharmacy colleagues giving wonderful advice and support on smoking cessation, only to be caught smoking outside by the patient a few hours later. This does not feel right and leaves a bad impression or could even make the patient think, ‘Why should I give up?’ We need to be very careful.'
Brij Valla, Avicenna, London
'Undoubtedly, yes. It is very hard to offer advice on a healthier lifestyle when you are not practising what you preach. You will also be more confident in performing this role, and can more easily pass on any useful advice that you have learnt personally.'
Geoff Shackleton, H Shackleton Ltd, Abergavenny
'You must be the change you want to see in the world,’ said Mahatma Gandhi. This is a simple and appealing statement from a great man, but it perhaps hides the difficulty of the journey ahead. To be best placed to help as trusted healthcare professionals, moving in that direction would be a good thing.'
Hemant Patel, North East London LPC