Call for pharmacist role in obesity fight

GPs should work side-by-side with pharmacists to help tackle the growing obesity epidemic, claims the clinical director of the National Obesity Forum (NOF).

Dr David Haslam, who is also a GP in Hertfordshire, said that the role of pharmacists in weight management was currently ‘under-valued'.

‘Pharmacist have access to a lot of patients,' he said. ‘As long as they have the facilities and can carry out weight management in a confidential manner then they could play a role.'

Dr Haslams comment's come after the results of a European survey of 300 pharmacists, 50 of who work in the UK, revealed that 94 per cent believe they should be offering advice on weight loss medication and healthy eating.

The survey also found that 92 per cent of pharmacists think that they should be offering advice on behavioural changes to support weight loss.

Terry Maguire, a community pharmacist and a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, was involved in an obesity management scheme run by UniChem in Coventry.

‘We have successfully piloted an obesity management programme in 14 pharmacies across Coventry over the last 12 months, with view to a national roll-out,' he said.

‘We worked alongside the GPs in the area, who referred their patients onto the pharmacists.'

European Conference of Obesity, Geneva 2008

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