How to set up a service
Setting up private weight management and obesity services
Community pharmacies can support patients with their weight management in a number of ways. This may start by simply offering appropriate over the counter healthy living advice (all trained pharmacy support staff) or through a weight management or health check service. This assists patients to identify if they are at a healthy weight or not. Following such a service, the trained member of the team would advise the next steps, which could range from support with behavioural changes and goal setting to medicated weight management. Although some medicated weight management is obtainable over the counter, others are prescription only medicines (POMs) and therefore will only be obtainable via a Patient Group Direction (PGD) through a pharmacist. This page guides pharmacists through the steps we recommend to set up weight management services.
1) Ensure that all staff involved are suitably trained
Although pharmacists will be the only ones able to use the weight loss PGD, it is important that all pharmacy support staff have some knowledge about weight management and obesity, to help support over the counter conversations. They should also be trained on the key points about the services you offer in the pharmacy, including price, consultation times/process and booking process, so they are able to advise patients appropriately. We recommend that you visit our Training page, which provides guidance about what training is available to pharmacists and pharmacy support staff.
2) Where to obtain a Patient Group Direction (PGD) for weight management services
If you intend to provide a private medicated weight management service, you may purchase a private PGD from Pharmadoctor here. Pharmadoctor have an eTool PGD and paper PGD for the service. Each PGD is for different medicated weight loss drugs. For more information about these drugs, please visit the drug information section. To find out more about what the PGD includes please visit the Pharmadoctor website.
A weight-loss service PGD can be purchased when you attend/sign up to the free ECG medicated weight management service training – find out more here.
Guidance on how to use the Pharmadoctor eTool service can be obtained by watching the following video, which takes you through each step of the eTool:
3) What equipment and consultation room set up is required
In order for you to provide a suitable weight management service, you must ensure that you have the correct equipment. This includes:
- A private consultation room that has appropriate space for an obese patient to enter without feeling uncomfortable
- Class III medical weighing scales with a capacity of 150kg and of suitable size for an obese patient to stand on. You can obtain these here.
- A sturdy chair without arm rests
- Measuring tape
- Stadiometer to measure height – You can obtain these here.
4) Service documents
The NPA have worked in collaboration with ECG training to produce an example SOP, patient record forms, patient diaries and template letters to GPs to assist you in delivering a weight management and obesity service.
Important information about service documents – must be read
Standard operating procedures:
GP letter templates:
Download electronic versions of these forms and letter templates here – These versions of the forms and templates will allow you to edit certain fields electronically and therefore prevent the need to print and store paper copies, if you prefer.
Novo Nordisk support packs
These will be provided by a business development manager at Novo Nordisk.
5) Ensure you have sufficient stock of medication included in the service
Ensure you source a licensed product for use in the PGD and have sufficient stock available.
For more information about medicated weight loss drugs, please visit the Weight Management Medicine Information page.
6) Service booking diary
To help you manage appointments for your services, you can use the appointment booking system available from the NPA business partner Traveljab. For more information please click here
Traveljab can add other private services to your booking diary, other than travel and flu related services. In order to add these on, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
7) Other important information
Please ensure that you are familiar with the Specialist Pharmacy Services (SPS) guidance on the use of PGDs, which can be found here.
We also recommend that you are familiar with the MHRA Blue Guide that aims to provide guidance on advertising and promoting of medicines. This can be found here.
If you are based in Northern Ireland, we recommend you refer to PSNI’s professional standards when advertising medicines and professional services. These can be found here.
If you are based in Scotland, please read the ‘Best Practice Statement PGDs’ from Healthcare Improvement Scotland, which can be found here.
You may also find it useful to read NICE guidelines on the use of PGDs, which can be accessed here and the MHRA guidance on ‘who can use a PGD’ which can be accessed here.
Your next steps: