It is with some sadness that the LPC has to report that the NHS Health Check service in Gateshead is not being recommissioned from all pharmacies currently offering the service.
The reasons for this are:-
1) Many of the contractors currently offering the service are not active at all, some are doing only a few checks and we have discovered that the council are spending about £1000 per pharmacy per year on software, testing materials, quality control etc. Public health simply cannot afford to pour this much money down the drain.
2) Public health believe that, unless staff are regularly doing health-checks they will de-skill themselves,
3) Public health have carried out a review of the Health Check service and believe that the money spent on poorly performing contractors can be better spent elsewhere - possibly even in other "not yet commissioned pharmacies"
At a meeting to discuss this issue, the LPC were in a very difficult place trying to argue for a continuation of service in those pharmacies not performing.
David Carter (Chair of Gateshead & South Tyneside LPC) said " It's difficult to defend the indefensible, and contractors need to be aware that services will stop if they're not being accessed. It's a different world now, and precious resources need to be targeted in places of most need. We are working very closely with public health in Gateshead and South Tyneside to position pharmacy at the centre of public health"
Carole Wood (Director of Public Health, Gateshead) said " As part of the wider health system reforms implemented due to the Health and Social Care Act 2012, Gateshead Council took on new public health functions from 1 April 2013. This includes responsibility for commissioning a range of public health services. The work programme in the first year following transition has included reviews of most of the public health services to ensure they are delivered in a way that is as effective and efficient as possible and targeting the people who have the greatest health improvement needs. This has included the NHS health checks programme, sexual health services, and substance misuse services. Pharmacies are recognised as playing an important part in the public health delivery system, and we are keen to build on what works well and explore new ways of delivery. The public health team is keen to work with the LPC to ensure we are making the most of opportunities to deliver a high quality and effectively targeted services for the future."