30/03/2012

Pharmacies To Become Health Improvement Hubs

Partnership working between pharmacies, community and the voluntary sector enables local solutions to local issues and brings about positive health changes.

This was the message from Health Minister Edwin Poots today as he visited two Building the Community-Pharmacy Partnership (BCPP) projects in Lisburn and attended an event celebrating ten years of the programme’s existence.

Mr Poots said: “What has struck me today is that the concept of partnership between the pharmacists and community groups is real and meaningful. The projects the pharmacists are involved with are directly related to the needs of the community and have a credibility and resonance with local people, empowering communities to take greater responsibility for their own health."

The BCPP programme began in 2002 as a result of collaboration between the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Community Development and Health Network (CDHN). During the ten years it has been running, the programme has successfully funded over 400 projects, many in urban and rural communities of social deprivation. Initiatives cover a wide range of health issues including mental health, obesity, physical activity, drug and alcohol misuse, sexual health. They involve people from hard to reach groups who may not access other healthcare services and settings.

At an event, held at the Lagan Valley Civic Centre, celebrating the ten-year partnership programme, Mr Poots said: "Local solutions are being developed to deal with local issues and the community is benefitting as positive health changes are being brought about.

"It is clear that pharmacies have the potential to become health improvement hubs within their communities, to be used as neighbourhood resources for public health information and services as well as the supply and sale of medicines. This is good news for communities, enabling them to better manage their own health and social wellbeing."

(CD)

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