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TOPIC: Are Pharmacies a valuable partner in the fight against Obesity?

Are Pharmacies a valuable partner in the fight against Obesity? 3 weeks ago #1

The Royal College of Physicians suggested in a report last week (Action on obesity: comprehensive care for all) that GPs should direct obese patients to community services, including pharmacies, rather than offering in-house clinics, and called for a national model for the commissioning of community services for obese patients.

This is further testament that pharmacists must be doing something right here. Pharmacies have been running dedicated weight management services for over a decade. In the last couple of years the Royal College of Public Health has become more involved in pharmacy, and the NHS has given the nod to the Healthy Living Pharmacy initiative which offer accessible public health service to the local community.
The big sticking point for pharmacy has been demonstrating value. But this has all started to change over the last few months. More pharmacists are starting to use IT programmes to keep patient records for their weight management service and audit the impact on people’s health.
The evidence I’ve seen clearly shows that community pharmacies offer a very successful and cost-effective service that will make a big impact in reducing the obesity epidemic and the costs to the NHS.

So why are GPs and commissioning groups not routinely referring the obese to their local pharmacy? Is it lack of awareness, does pharmacy need to shout more or is there still alot of convincing needed?
Last Edit: 1 week, 2 days ago by Kauser Aslam.

Re: Are Pharmacies a valuable partner in the fight against Obesity? 1 week, 1 day ago #2

Pharmacies are ideally placed to offer obesity treatment but also prevention through education and weight loss intervention at or prior to reaching the obesity ranges of BMI. Since Pharmacies are more informal in their setting when compared to GP surgeries, Pharmacies have the time potential and expertise to take on the task of tackling obesity.
As a Pharmacist I have offered, inside and outside the confines of a Pharmacy premises, a complete weight loss and weight management service for nearly a decade with some excellent results. One of the main methods of weight reduction I employ is the Lipotrim Pharmacy programme which not only enables me to get these fantastic results but also finally the means to audit these figures using their patient tracker programme.
Although I have this audit I still find it extremely difficult to gain awareness and favourable input from other health professionals especially GPs.
One of the main barriers to me is indeed my voice. As a Pharmacist my expertise revolves around the offering of medically orientated advice rather than having strong political awareness or marketing my ability. However I also find a relatively equal problem in the reluctance to look at initiatives outside the "normal" options that are simply not coping with the widespread problem, outside the PCT list of commissioned weight management options, and outside the knowledge-base of other healthcare professionals.
In short each of the raised concerns need tackling and sooner rather than later.

Re: Are Pharmacies a valuable partner in the fight against Obesity? 6 days, 10 hours ago #3

It would be good to hear from commissioners and other healthcare professionals on what they think pharmacy's role is and where they can see value. Also are there any good examples of a multi-disciplinary approach to obesity?

Re: Are Pharmacies a valuable partner in the fight against Obesity? 2 days, 14 hours ago #4

Working for a company that delivers a combined healthy lifestyles contract in the county has, in my opinion, greatly improved the public's awareness of what free help, advice and assistance there is.

We are fortunate to be able to offer multiple health improvement services to those that wish to access, which includes working alongside our community stakeholders to inlcude pharmacies and GP sugeries.

The introduction and roll-out programme of the HLPs will only enhance this and I believe will comfortably engage the public's awareness farther - at a minimum, this can potentially mean either of our organisations' services will be made known to those who most need it.

What is key to maintain however, is the emphasis on weight management and not neccessarily always just weight loss. The education element is paramount; pharmacies indeed are ideally placed to avail themselves to clients for the time-related element. Importantly, GP and commissioning groups, perhaps even more so with CCGs taking the reigns soon, must engage with these pharmacies and other organisations like ours which cover a whole host of health services tackling inequalities and issues.

I don't believe that it is a lack of awareness of the GPs part which has hindered progress and referral pathways into pharmacies for weight-related isses to date. Moreover I anticipate that it may well be an element of confidence in the specialism element that these settings may apprently be able to provide.

Robust referral pathways, transparent and effective stakeholder engagement and management will ensure that all parties are aware of what is available, but imperatively - confident to refer into.
Last Edit: 2 days, 14 hours ago by Matthew Abbott.

Re: Are Pharmacies a valuable partner in the fight against Obesity? 2 days, 7 hours ago #5

The problem is not only the increasing numbers of obese people in the UK, but today’s B.M.I. of 30 is rapidly heading towards a B.M.I. of 35 or higher without intervention.

The interventions are G.P. care, orlistat, dietician services, slimming clubs, pharmacy based weight management and bariatric surgery. The numbers in need are so great that all approaches are needed. Pharmacies are very useful as they are accessible, can manage co-morbidities with G.P.s and offer free long term supervision. Referral to a pharmacy weight management service ensures that advice is scientifically sound. Pharmacists are well trained, and importantly, are highly regulated.

Pharmacy Weight Management is greatly enhanced by using Lipotrim. Lipotrim gives the pharmacy the option of using a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) as well as high fibre, nutritious, Maintenance foods. Lipotrim builds on the pharmacies’ weight management service and crucially there is a full computerised record for audit and reporting as well as an emphasis on patient education and long term weight supervision.

Pharmacy must be part of the solution and is highly suitable for commissioning. Pharmacists have the expertise, tools and capacity to deal with the size of the problem. Pharmacy can help prevent B.M.I. 30 turning into B.M.I. 35.

Re: Are Pharmacies a valuable partner in the fight against Obesity? 1 day, 14 hours ago #6

Community pharmacies are easily accessible; located where people live, work and shop and most are open long hours when other healthcare professional are unavailable. Community pharmacies already make a significant contribution to public health and are well placed to provide an effective weight management service.
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