NHS England launched a National Pharmacy Public Health Campaign on February 4th 2019 called “Help Us Help You”. It focuses on encouraging members of the public to visit their local pharmacy first for managing minor illnesses. These include ailments such as colds, flu, coughs, upset stomach and general aches and pains.
The aim is to increase the public’s recognition of community pharmacies as an appropriate healthcare choice for minor illnesses. As part of Public Health’s Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles, expert advice from experienced pharmacy staff means people can help you help themselves stay healthy.
According to a 2015 NHS commissioned report, ‘Making Time in General Practice’, 27% of general healthcare appointments in England could, in fact, be treated elsewhere. It states that at least 18 million appointments could be handled through self-care and community pharmacies.
That is a large number of patients who could essentially save time and have peace of mind when visiting pharmacies first. From that statistic, it is evident that this campaign will play a vital role in addressing minor health concerns treatable at local pharmacies.
Help Us Help You – Before It Gets Worse
The “Help Us Help You – Before it gets worse” National Pharmacy Public Health Campaign encourages people to get advice on preventing an illness before it gets worse. It also helps them understand the best course of treatment and how to ensure that they get better sooner.
“Help Us Help You – Before it gets worse” also looks at raising public awareness about accessing community pharmacies instead of going to their GP, Out of Hours treatment centre or Accident and Emergency for a simple cough or any number of minor illnesses.
It all boils down to patients helping the NHS, and themselves, by consulting your pharmacy team about any minor health concerns before they get worse. While pharmacists may not be doctors, they are healthcare experts who are able to provide clinical advice about different types of illnesses when patients visit the pharmacy. At any point in time, pharmacy teams must ensure that patients get the help they need if symptoms worsen.
This National Pharmacy Public Health Campaign is designed to give a consistent approach across the NHS so the public recognises the message. These small messages will constantly ‘nudge’ patients to think and act differently about where they access healthcare.
National Pharmacy Public Health Campaign
Community pharmacies must complete six mandatory NHS public health campaigns annually as they are part of the Essential Services element of the NHS contact. To deliver a campaign, pharmacies must display posters, leaflets and other relevant material on a topic of NHS England’s choosing and actively approach customers to make them aware of the campaign.
This year, during the six week period between February 4th and March 15th, pharmacy teams should keep a record of how many people they talk to during the campaign.
NHS England and PSNC have agreed that “Help Us Help You – Before it gets worse” will count as one of the six public health campaigns for 2019. This means that participation is mandatory and that all pharmacies must display the provided materials. Please ensure that you brief all of the pharmacy team members to make this campaign a success. The media pack includes digital displays, posters, videos, television and social media kits.
You can view or download a summary of “Help Us Help You” media pack for additional information.
VirtualOutcomes Online Training
VirtualOutcomes has released an online training course to help support the National Pharmacy Public Health Campaign. You will learn everything there is to know about how to encourage people to help themselves. More information and resources can be found under pharmacy advice campaign resources and although it is free, you still need to register.
Our online pharmacy training courses provide a simple, yet detailed, overview of key points as well as hints and tips on how to promote public health campaigns on healthy lifestyles. Along with “Help Us Help You – Before it gets worse”, we also have two other courses on giving up smoking and Children’s Health that can support this campaign.
Log onto VirtualOutcomes pharmacy training and enter your F Code to access the course. It is available free of charge for pharmacies if their LPC is live. If the course is unavailable for your pharmacy, it’s likely that your LPC hasn’t signed up for it yet. Contact us to find out more about our courses and how you can register.