Health champions (HCs) are, and always will be, a valuable asset to any pharmacy team. They can lead health promotion campaigns, recruit individuals into health and wellbeing services within the pharmacy and signpost members of the public to relevant support, when they are not able to provide the support themselves.
HCs will usually be medicines counter or healthcare assistants who are trained and accredited to provide customers with health and wellbeing advice, provide information about their health and signpost to other community services (such as commissioned Local Authority services). Their aim is to not only raise awareness but also help the public adopt healthier lifestyles and access the support they need. This will include the Health Trainer service, where it is locally available, in cases where the individual requires additional one to one assistance.
Any member of the pharmacy team can become a HC although Medicines Counter Assistants (MCAs) are in an ideal position to be trained as HCs. A MCA is the person to whom the majority of visitors to a community pharmacy contact first and often live and work in the community they serve. MCAs are already trained to provide information and support to customers, within their own competency, and to know when to refer to other members of the pharmacy team. Their role includes providing information to support self-care and to encourage healthier lifestyle choices.
When considering a candidate for the HC role, pharmacy managers and contractors may wish to consider whether the individual:
- engages positively with customers;
- has a willingness to help others with their health and wellbeing;
- lives in the community;
- wishes to develop in their role and take on new challenges;
- is enthusiastic about the opportunity;
- has ideas on how they can reach out to the community on local health and wellbeing issues and;
- can integrate the role of the Health Champion into their current work.