I bumped into Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, at a recent roundtable event. As usual with Shirley, she said a few things that got my attention. We met a few weeks later in her office, where we talked in more detail (catch up with our conversation here).
The RSPH has been a long-time supporter, and promoter of community pharmacy. Pharmacy features as a healthy business in its Health on the High Street reports, is the subject of its own report Building Capacity, and gets more than a mention in other output. More than 100 pharmacists are RSPH members.
In addition to protecting the public’s health, the RSPH increasingly operates as a partner to a range of organisations in pursuing its strategic priorities of addressing the social determinants of health which are associated with many of the health inequalities we face as a country.
For a few years now, the RSPH, which created the Health Champion qualifications that are fundamental to a Healthy Living Pharmacy, has maintained the register of Level 1 HLPs. With HLP now embedded in the Quality Payments Scheme, the register has assumed a greater signficance over the past 18 months or so. And, while self-assessment is at the heart of the process of registration, quality assurance sits with the RSPH, which operates a light touch visit process – so far 125 pharmacies have been through it.
Since its creation, the register has been funded by Public Health England. But, like lots of things, that funding is about to be shut off. In April. The RSPH wants to keep the register going. Pharmacy too should want to keep the register going.
This is a real opportunity to get on the right side of the argument, for the first time in a while. The RSPH, with its campaigning role, on drugs, social media, mental health and debt, and its support for pharmacy, should be a perfect partner for the sector. This is a chance to do something together that will improve the service pharmacies offer – the RSPH has evaluation tools, communications capacity, qualifications and learning opportunities that are ready to be used.