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Pharmacy teams urged to take part in Government disease prevention inquiry

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Pharmacy teams urged to take part in Government disease prevention inquiry

Select committee chair Steve Brine MP

Community pharmacy teams are being urged to engage with a major new parliamentary inquiry into the prevention of ill health.

The inquiry, which was announced last Wednesday (January 18), could look at areas such as obesity, mental health, smoking, genomic sequencing and health environments, the parliamentary health and social care committee said, though it stressed that this is “not an exhaustive list” and encouraged proposals on other topics relevant to prevention.

In its first stage, the inquiry is inviting researchers and organisations involved in preventative healthcare to suggest topics that will be considered, with submissions to be accepted until February 8. A wider call for evidence will then follow.

Select committee chair Steve Brine MP – who last week told CIG publication Independent Community Pharmacist that the committee plans to hold an inquiry into community pharmacy later this year – said: “We’ll use our findings to set a challenge for the Government to boost prevention as one of the top priorities. We intend to set a clear direction on what steps ministers must take now to achieve a new goal by the end of the decade.”

Mr Brine added: “Preventing ill-health offers the biggest opportunity for everyone to enjoy a better quality of life and I happen to think is the only way to keep our NHS sustainable as it’s plain logic to see what will happen if demand continues to out-pace supply at current levels.

“We’re interested in how health can be impacted by wider factors, such as the impact of poor housing as a determinant of ill health.”

Speaking to Pharmacy Network News, Sigma Pharmaceuticals co-founder Bharat Shah encouraged pharmacy teams to engage with the inquiry: “Sigma believes that community pharmacy is well trained, well positioned and professionally qualified to offer key health diagnostic services to the general public, to highlight and prevent any serious conditions that may have a major impact in the future – not only on individual lifestyles, but to ensure the safeguarding of NHS funding.

“We strongly urge every community pharmacy to respond to this timely inquiry launched by Steve Brine MP.

“Your input to this inquiry will certainly highlight the role pharmacy is prepared to take, provided the services are properly funded.

“The incentives for pharmacy to engage are huge and you should not miss this vital opportunity to contribute.

“The GPs are involved, the nurses are involved, health professionals are involved, will you be involved?”

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