World Diabetes Day 2020 – celebrating collaborative working to improve health equalities 

In the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, Ferguslie Park in Paisley, Renfrewshire, is identified as the most deprived area in Scotland. Nearly half (48%) of people are on low incomes, hospital treatment for drug-related psychiatric conditions are more than eight times the average, and mental-health related drug fatalities are 233% the average. Deprivation does not just mean a lack of money. It can lead to difficulties in accessing services and obstacles for opportunities and how to get the most out of life.

Community pharmacy is the only health provider which which does not align with the ‘Inverse Care Law’. This law works on the principle that in deprived areas, there tend to be fewer health care services and health care workers. Community pharmacy offers more services in areas of deprivation, which helps improve health equalities.

Multimorbidity is also common in Ferguslie Park. In fact, more people have two or more conditions than only have one. Self-care and management are vital, so our community pharmacists are thinking creatively to deliver safe, effective, person-centred care that supports people in their community.

The pharmacy teams at Well and Lloyds Pharmacy in Ferguslie Park have been working collaboratively with one another and Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership to pilot a ‘drop-in service’ which offers support services for those with diabetes.

The pilot receives referrals from the nearby Royal Alexandria Hospital. This has reduced waiting times, allowing improved access to health care and advice.

After a patient attends a session with a pharmacist such as Rebecca from Lloyds Pharmacy, she can refer the patient back to their GP if necessary, or for those more complex patients, to secondary care. Rebecca has had training sessions with nutritionists to ensure the information she provides is up to date and consistent with current guidelines. The pharmacies also work very closely with their local GP practices, having regular meetings with the practice staff as well as the in-practice Primary Care Pharmacist. This level of communication has particularly benefitted patients who have more complex care needs. 

The pilot has received extremely positive feedback from service users. They have told the pharmacy teams how being able to access support, advice, and signposting in their community has empowered them to make changes to their lifestyle.

 

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