As the number of Healthy Living Pharmacies (HLPs) or those en route to accreditation rockets to more than 2,000, plans to cut commissioners out of the loop are on track.

Level one HLPs offer proactive health advice to patients and actively engage in public health campaigns in their local community while levels two and three of the tiered commissioning framework allow pharmacies to offer additional services.

Currently a pharmacy can only apply for HLP status if a commissioner decides to implement HLPs in their area, but in November 2015 Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England (PHE), announced a programme to allow pharmacies to self-certify for level one.

Speaking at the Community Pharmacy: A Public Health Asset roadshow in London on 8 March 2016, lead public health pharmacist at PHE, Gul Root, said they were still aiming to roll-out the self-accreditation scheme in April.

“There are many, many pharmacies who want to become HLPs but the commissioner has not implemented it.

“So we have been working with HLPs to find a way pharmacies can become level one HLPs even if the commissioner is not commissioning the services,” she said.

Pharmacies who want to achieve level one status will need to provide evidence they meet the necessary quality criteria and proof of their involvement in local health campaigns.

“What we are currently working on is having some kind of quality assurance process underpinning this,” said Root.

“Local authorities then, when they come to commissioning level two of HLPs, services will be assured pharmacies have met the criteria.”

“We were expecting to start that new process in April, we are still trying very hard to do that.

“We are having discussions with organisations at the moment about how we might get those underpinning quality assurances.”

Speaking at the same event president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Ash Soni, told attendees attaining HLP status in his own premises has a positive impact on both his staff and patients.

Root said: “The most important factor of a HLP is really is a complete change in culture and ethos within the pharmacy.

“The whole of the pharmacy team needs to focus on taking every opportunity to use every interaction they have, to use that opportunity as a health promotion intervention…

“Who wouldn’t then commission services from them?”