Heartbeats on the high street

Heartbeats on the High Street: How Community Pharmacy can transform Britain’s health, wealth and wellbeing – highlights the unique role and “social capital” of Community Pharmacy. By putting pharmacies at the heart of public health, we argue that they can become vital institutions of localism, care and social reform. Doctors and hospitals are vital in the fight against disease, but they cannot be expected to carry the burden of unhealthy lifestyles and long-term conditions like obesity, hypertension and diabetes. We need a local, people-focussed resource that can tackle these conditions at root. And because many of these conditions are linked to problems of social and economic deprivation, we need an institution that is already connected with our most disadvantaged communities.

Community Pharmacy is embedded on high streets in almost every part of the country, including our most deprived neighbourhoods. It is staffed by a network of clinically trained professionals who have the capacity to prevent illnesses that cost the taxpayer billions of pounds each year. This report calls for a greater role for pharmacies in the fight for good public health. It recommends giving Community Pharmacy leadership in preventing and managing long-term conditions, by making NHS health checks for the over-40s available to the whole adult population. Because these conditions harm employment and productivity, and lead to inequality and isolation, the report shows how a greater use of Community Pharmacy reduces social inequality and increases economic savings.

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