healthcare reviewA new version of the Right Route: Right Care campaign has been launched by Pfizer Healthy Partnerships (PHP) with endorsement from Pharmacy Voice.

The aim is to support pharmacy teams in encouraging the public to make the most effective use of their local NHS services, using a simple traffic light system.

Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments are facing increasing pressure, with the number of people attending A&E for minor ailments rising 11 times the rate of the population increase between 2004/5 and 2012/13. This campaign uses a traffic light system to highlight that pharmacists are well positioned to provide general health advice in the community and welcome people to come and discuss their health concerns with them, such as minor ailments, rather than going to A&E.

“This winter just passed has shown once again that A&E departments face overwhelming demand and we need to start to change behaviour to help ensure a sustainable national health service,” says Rob Darracott, Chief Executive of Pharmacy Voice. “We need to help educate people so they can choose the most appropriate healthcare service.

“Community pharmacies are the most accessible healthcare provider, a pharmacist is a qualified healthcare professional with five years of training and is always on-site to offer treatment and advice. Many community pharmacies also have extended hours and weekend opening.”

The campaign, designed to signpost patients to the most appropriate NHS service and highlight the role of community pharmacy, can help increase pharmacist engagement with patients and therefore provide further opportunities for them to identify the need for services such as the New Medicines Service (NMS), Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) and Health Checks.

The Right Route, Right Care campaign was first launched by Pfizer Healthy Partnerships in September 2014. During the initial rollout, a survey conducted in 125 people in one pharmacy found that 17% were visiting the pharmacy practice as a result of a campaign.