National Pharmacy Association welcomes new commitment on preventing ill-health

05 Nov 2018

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, today committed to more resources for tackling poor health through prevention and early intervention.

Responding for the National Pharmacy Association, chief executive Mark Lyonette said:


“We welcome the government’s commitment to shift the balance of resources towards community based care, prevention and early identification of disease.


“Prevention is better than cure and this commendable approach is the basis of the vision published by Matt Hancock today.


“Community pharmacists daily encounter millions of people, not only those people seeking treatment for known ill-health.  So the opportunity for health promoting interventions and disease prevention in pharmacies is considerable.


“Community pharmacy can be seen as the front door to health, being both a key part of the NHS frontline and a neighbourhood facility offering wellbeing services and support for independent living.


“The Secretary of State has confirmed that a large proportion of the investment attached to the forthcoming Long Term NHS Plan will be directed to primary and community care.  The NPA and other pharmacy leaders have already briefed officials developing the plan about the potential of community pharmacy to prevent disease and maintain good health.


We argued that more screening, diagnostic capacity and ongoing monitoring services in pharmacies would help improve outcomes in relation to cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions and cancer – three of the clinical priorities identified by NHS England.


“Matt Hancock highlighted today the injustice that children born in the poorest parts of our country will die years earlier than children born in the richest areas. That is indeed a scandal, in this 70th anniversary of the NHS, which was created out of the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth.  Pharmacies are unusual in the health service in that they are present in greater numbers in the most deprived areas, therefore bucking the so-called inverse care law.”


The Health Secretary is outlining his plans during a keynote speech at the Annual Meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes today.


Prevention is Better Than Cure – our vision to help you live well for longer was published today by the Department of Health and Social Care.  It states that “The Government wants to encourage more people to make the most of their local pharmacy, and for local pharmacies to play a stronger role in helping people stay well in the community”.