Healthy Living Pharmacy



Aim of the Health Living Pharmacy Study

The aim of this study is to evaluate the implementation and impact of Level One accredited HLPs in improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities of the communities they serve in the Heart of Birmingham. The study will focus on four services provided by pharmacies, specifically Smoking Cessation services, Minor Ailments Schemes, the provision of Emergency Hormonal Contraception and Early Pregnancy Testing.


NHS reforms -Health and well-being boards (HWBs) and groups of general practitioners (known as clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)), will be accountable for managing resources, assessing the health & wellbeing needs of local communities and commissioning services accordingly to improve health and reduce health inequalities. The stated aim behind the devolution of power to the frontline (i.e. to LAs and GPs in the form of CCGs) was to reduce layers of bureaucracy and enable the health service to become agile and responsive to tackling the health issues affecting local populations.

Building on pharmacy’s strengths – The 2008 pharmacy White Paper ‘Pharmacy in England’ stated a desire to see pharmacists and pharmacies engaged in the drive to combat health inequalities and focussing on prevention as much as sickness. Community pharmacies tend to be located in the heart of communities and the community pharmacist is often a trusted figure locally. Furthermore, their local presence enables them to gain an insight into prevalent health issues, whilst extended opening hours and the availability of expert advice without an appointment, facilitates easy access to health advice and services at a time most convenient to the individual. Therefore, community pharmacies are in a strong position to deliver health improvement and harm reduction messages to the wider population.

aston logoPharmacy as a health resource – Pharmacy’s involvement in the promotion of healthy lifestyles, in the delivery of health & wellbeing services (such as those designed to help people to lose weight or stop smoking) and in increasing access to treatment (such as the supply of emergency hormonal contraception via patient group directions (PGDs) and the provision of minor ailments schemes (MAS)) has been growing for two decades. Pharmacy in England introduced the concept of community pharmacies as ‘Healthy Living Centres’ with the aim of the repositioning pharmacies as a natural, local resource for health advice and treatments in the local community. In 2009, NHS Portsmouth developed this concept with the introduction of ‘Healthy Living Pharmacies’ (see Box 1).

Healthy Living Pharmacies in the Heart of Birmingham – In March 2011, the Heart of Birmingham teaching Primary Care Trust (now part of the Birmingham & Solihull NHS Cluster), launched the HLP programme in the Heart of Birmingham and since then ten pharmacies have been awarded HLP Level One status i.e. promoting health, wellbeing and self-care. It is hoped that the ‘HLP’ brand will come to be recognised as a guarantee that the accredited pharmacy will consistently provide a high standard of service and quality.


Our HLP study comprises of three stages:

Stage A

To analyse data (on the four services mentioned above) submitted to the Cluster by:

  1. HLPs; before and after becoming an HLP.
  2. Non-HLPs; the time periods will coincide with the ‘before’ and ‘after’ periods as mentioned in A.1.
  3. To compare the results of the data analysis from A.1 with the results from A.2.

Stage B

To explore and understand the views and opinions of HLP pharmacists and pharmacy staff on the accreditation process, benefits, and motivations of becoming an HLP, current experiences and future plans.

Stage C

To explore and evaluate the views of HLP service users via an interactive questionnaire hosted on a ‘touchscreen kiosk’ within each of the HLPs.


It is anticipated that the data analysis from Stages A and B will provide a quantitative estimate of the health gains generated by the Cluster’s investment in HLPs. Analysis of the qualitative data from Stage C, will provide the context to the results from Stages A & B and an insight into the motivations and experiences of service deliverers. Recommendations will be put forward to enable the Cluster to refine the HLP programme and process to maximise the benefit to the service user.

This project is now complete – see the full report.

Further information


Box 1 – Healthy Living Pharmacies

The HLP concept and programme was originally developed by Portsmouth NHS. Pharmacies that joined the programme were required to work through an accreditation framework after which those pharmacies were branded as HLPS. An interim evaluation of the Portsmouth HLP programme showed that HLPs were effective in improving health within local communities for example there was a significant improvement in quit rates of patients signed up to the Stop Smoking service. The HLP programme has since been rolled out across the UK.