The Healthy Living Pharmacy concept embodies everything the new contract stands for, says Deborah Evans


Ten years ago, Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) started as a small pilot programme supported by the Department of Health and led by our multidisciplinary team from the Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), Primary Care Trust and Public Health in Portsmouth City Council. Hugely successful in the local area, we were able to demonstrate that pharmacies actively participating in the HLP programme engaged more with patients on health and wellbeing matters than others that were not.

A national HLP pathfinder programme, supported by all the pharmacy organisations, demonstrated that these results could be replicated in other areas. Since then, we have seen HLP embraced by thousands of pharmacies as part of the Quality Payments Scheme, soon to be the Pharmacy Quality Scheme under the new contract. From April 2020, HLP will be an essential contractual requirement for all pharmacies in England.

Looking to the next decade, the new contract will redefine the integral role community pharmacies play in delivering healthcare services over the next five years. At the heart of this new capability is the further growth of the HLP concept, where all pharmacies will be HLPs with a leader to develop and motivate the team and with trained health champions on site. Health champions are the heartbeat of all HLPs, proactively delivering a wide range of lifestyle and health interventions to help more people live happier, healthier lives for longer.

At the very centre of an effective HLP is the use of the skills, passion and commitment of the whole pharmacy team to ensure that service delivery is consistent and high quality, and that there is an ethos that proactively makes every contact count. In other words, a member of the public walking into an HLP knows that every one of the team has their health and wellbeing at the core of what they do.

For this to become a reality requires more than methodically going through the quality criteria and ticking the boxes; anyone can do that. Indeed, becoming an HLP in name only will not change anything. HLP’s roots are in change management and organisational development – developing workforce capability and motivation, and reaching into the community, working with others to respond to local health needs.

These are the capabilities and actions that are required to implement and deliver the new contractual framework. Pharmacy needs pharmacists and pharmacy technicians operating at the top of their licence, able to delegate the activities that others can do, freeing pharmacists up to work on more clinical services, common illness provision, medicines optimisation and being fully integrated within a Primary Care Network (PCN). We must also have a health and care system that recognises the difference that pharmacy can make and a sector that consistently delivers, no matter what the challenge.

Arguably, we are about to enter the biggest change community pharmacy has undertaken for years and we need effective leaders at every level – but especially in every pharmacy – who are able to think differently about their business model for delivery, how they develop and deploy the skills of their team and how they engage with their patients, customers and other providers of health and care.

As the contract will state, HLP is more than an essential services requirement. The HLP ethos is essential for our future.


Deborah Evans is managing director of Pharmacy Complete and former HLP Portsmouth and national pathfinder programme lead. HLP specialist Pharmacy Complete provides a complete Healthy Living Pharmacy solution and support for new contract implementation