West Midlands update by Mohammed Vaqar, Public Health England
Local and national success with Healthy Living Pharmacies in Dudley led the public health team with the Dudley local optometry committee to consider the development of a Healthy Living Opticians framework.
The Director of Public Health met the committee and discussed a range of public health services that optical practices could be involved with, such as smoking, alcohol, weight-management, because of the links with eye health, and the NHS Health Check.
The optometrists were particularly interested in providing the NHS Health Check, as with an eye test, they can pick up if a patient has high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, etc. Currently optometrists encourage patients to have an NHS Health Check but if they could provide it in their practices this would improve patient experience.
Dudley currently has ten optical practices that have started training to deliver the NHS Health Check, with another two waiting to be trained. A prospectus and quality criteria have been produced to support the scheme. As with Healthy Living Pharmacies, Healthy Living Opticians must have an identified leader, at least one health champion (with a Royal Society for Public Health Level 2 (RSPH L2) award) and a health information zone. They must proactively promote and point people to other services, and offer smoking cessation and alcohol interventions as a minimum.
In Sandwell a variety of methods have been introduced to target high risk and vulnerable eligible populations. Sandwell Lifestyle Choices, a one-stop shop for Sandwell Public Health services, recently piloted a scheme where council tenants were made aware of the NHS Health Check through their council tenant cards. In total 28,000 council tenants were sent NHS Health Check leaflets.
To date just over 50.8% of all contacts for the NHS Health Check programme have been made through council rent cards promotion and the evaluations of the pilot has shown this method to be most effective compared to other promotional campaigns. The A4 leaflet worked well with the rent card dimensions and fitted into the single rent card envelope, no additional costs were incurred other than printing.
For more information about these case studies please contact Mohammed.Vaqar@phe.gov.uk