May 2019 Blog: Public Health Campaigns and Community Pharmacy

Public Health Campaigns and Community Pharmacy

Health Promotion Zones at their best can be impactful, engaging and effective in sharing Public Health messages and making a real difference to people’s health and wellbeing.

Promotion of healthy lifestyles (Public Health) is also an essential service (#4) as outlined in the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework and NHS England requires pharmacies to participate in up to six Public Health campaigns a year. Some of the campaigns are developed stringently at national level, but others allow for flexible local tailoring to consider specific patient groups.

Our 2019/20 targeted campaigns are:

  • Mid-February to mid-March – “Help Us Help You” Pharmacy campaign
  • Mid-May to mid-June – Children’s Oral Health/Smile Month
  • September – Antimicrobial resistance
  • October – “Stoptober”/Smoking cessation
  • November/December – “Help Us Help You” Winter campaign
  • January 2020 – Alcohol

Looking at the six public health campaigns specifically it’s a challenge to know where to start. Helpfully, PSNC Briefing 011/17: “Healthy Living Pharmacy – Holding a health promotion event/campaign” provides the guidance you need to run an effective campaign. I recommend you use the “Annex 1: Checklist” to guide you through the process. This will help you show what you have done to engage and deliver an effective campaign, which delivered the campaign objectives and made a real difference to people’s lives.

Let’s take a look together at the “Children’s Oral Health/Smile Month” which runs from 13th May to 13th June this year:

Planning – Complete the “Annex 1: Checklist” and look for ideas that will work for you. You will find examples on the Oral Health Foundation’s website at In addition, do a little research and find out some interesting facts and figures – if they interest you, they may well impact on others (e.g. Sugar is a major cause of tooth decay. The average 5-year-old consumes their own weight in sugar each year and sugary drinks make up 29% of 11-18-year olds sugar intake).

Resources – Once you know the ‘angle’ you want to take you will need supporting promotional materials (e.g. posters, leaflets, visual aids, etc.), so allow at least a month to get these. There are lots of sources, but consider PHE’s Campaign Resource Centre, Charity websites and how about developing a simple questionnaire for customers to assess the impact of your campaign and to find out what works and what didn’t (for next time).

Training – This is easy for this campaign, because at least 80% of your healthcare staff should have already completed the CPPE Children’s Oral Health training for Quality Payments. If they need a refresher then have a look at the Children’s Dental Health training module on Virtual Outcomes. Don’t forget to brief staff on the campaign and how it will be run in your pharmacy.

Delivering – Setup the HPZ to make the display as attractive and attention grabbing as possible. You should have lots of leaflets and posters by now, so this stage should be easy. Remember, to remind staff that when they hand out a leaflet to briefly explain the contents and its importance to the customer. This could start a MECC discussion that will encourage the customer to make the behavioural changes necessary.

Evaluation and Reporting – What you have done to support the campaign should be evidenced, because it will help with any contract monitoring visits and building up your HLP portfolio. There should be a record of the number of people that have been spoken to during the campaign, photographs of your HPZ, and keep examples of the leaflets you used with a brief outline of what you did. N.B. When removing promotional materials don’t discard them, as they could be useful for future events or for customers who ask for help outside the campaign.

Last year NICE Guidance on “Community pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing” [NG102] made recommendations on how pharmacy public health interventions could be more effective. I don’t think there were any surprises in what they came up with. We all know that training is important, as is local knowledge of local health priorities, so proactively seeking opportunities (e.g. Making Every Contact Count i.e. MECC), following behaviour change principles, raising awareness of health issues and offering advice/information in a way that will engage people will all make a difference.

To help us all share ideas and tips and to celebrate successes we have just set up a HLP’s closed Facebook page. We are just looking for members  so please take a look at the page here and send a request to the group.

Reports and photographs of successful campaigns and ideas can also be sent to Derbyshire LPC (email:, PSNC (email:; Public Health England (email:; or at the PHE Campaign Resource website.


John Sargeant,

Chairman, Derbyshire LPC,

May 2019