Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, takes to the stage to deliver the keynote speech at Community Pharmacy Improving the Public's Health in England.


Your work matters, your work is important and we are here to support you.

We have to take a radically different approach to what we have always done.

As a nation we are living longer but not necessarily living healthier. We are seeing significant increases in individuals living longer but with disability.

The key challenge is one of an ageing population with complex needs that have to be met by the health and social care system.

While individual behaviours are important, there are a range of social determinants we must also address, including housing issues, low incomes, social isolation, exclusion and loneliness.

I would like us to challenge each other about how we can work more effectively within our communities.

We at Public Health England are involved in protecting the population against infectious disease, reducing inequalities, improving population health and building the capability and capacity of the health system.

Our priorities include tackling obesity, reducing smoking, reducing harmful drinking, ensuring every child has the best start in life, reducing the risk of dementia, tackling antimicrobial resistance and achieving a year-on-year decline in TB incidence.

These are underpinned by core values: health equality, mental health and community-centred approaches.

We cannot influence or improve health by using a top-down approach, it has never worked and it will not work.

Public Health England's vision is for a future with pharmacy teams fully integrated into local primary care networks and playing an appropriate and pivotal role in improving the health of people in local communities.

With pharmacists are influencing local and national decision making. You need to be at the table.

Pharmacists need to be an integral part of primary care and the public health workforce.

We have made a number of commitments:

We have been advocating the role of community pharmacists and the role you play. We acknowledge you as a key strategic partner and we are embedding pharmacy in everything we do.

It's a no-brainer to get into partnership with community pharmacy.

For many of you here you are the first point of contact for individuals within the community. You are an important and valuable asset when it comes to health.

You have a key role to play in prevention, early detection and management.

Our aim is to double the number of accredited HLPs and those on route to becoming accredited by the end of March 2016.

The estimated number of HLPs accredited and on route is around 1,850.

We are starting a quarterly e-newsletter, the first edition is being published today.We are also working with 3,000 health champions.

We want to scale up the numbers of HLPs and strengthen and harmonise the offer HLPs have nationally.

We are considering a tiered approach to HLPs with underpinning quality criteria and a governance framework to enable more pharmacies to pursue HLP status.

The details of the quality criteria and self assessment are still being finalised. But in the spirit of urgency we will start a phased implementation as of April next year.

Pharmacy has a great track record of contributing to public health, including almost 400,000 flu vaccines delivered through community pharmacies since September.

Developments include events with Public Health England centres and Community Pharmacy: A Public Health Asset roadshows.

Please get involved because your voice is incredibly important

We would like to see more HLPs doing NHS health checks. We need to think about ways we can reduce pressure on the NHS, this can be done partly by being clearer by what you offer.

In conclusion we acknowledge pharmacy as a key strategic partner and we are a committed advocate for pharmacy and its pivotal role in improving population health.