Tesco trains pharmacists on how to advise about serious illnesses

Tesco pharmacists and pharmacy employees are being trained on how to advise customers about serious illnesses.

The supermarket chain has been working with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Cancer Research UK, and Diabetes UK to deliver the specialist training, which has been rolled out across more than 200 Tesco pharmacies in the UK.

The training is designed to help Tesco pharmacy staff provide information and support on how to lower the risk of serious conditions, including: diabetes; cancer; and heart and circulatory diseases.

Research, commissioned by the three charities and Tesco, found that only nine per cent of UK adults have gone to their local pharmacy for advice and information on lowering their risk of serious health conditions.

The survey also revealed that of those that had visited a pharmacist for health-related advice, 43 per cent said this had eased their concerns around wasting their GP’s time.

The charities have said that supporting people to make lifestyle changes and seek referrals for concerning symptoms could “save thousands of lives” every year from some of the UK’s most prevalent and serious diseases.

According to research published in 2020, over 7.6 million people in the UK are living with heart and circulatory diseases, while 4.9 million are living with diabetes – 90 per cent of which are cases of type 2 diabetes – and it’s estimated that almost 3 million people are living with cancer. But, Tesco said, around four in 10 cases of cancer, many heart and circulatory diseases and up to five in 10 cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed.

Paul Pilkington, head of pharmacy at Tesco, said that pharmacists will be available for private and confidential chats in its pharmacy consultation rooms.

“As part of our role in supporting community health, we are encouraging customers to shop for affordable, healthy and sustainable food,” said Pilkington. “Now, we want to encourage everyone to take advantage of the resources and support available in Tesco pharmacies to help people live healthier.

“So, if you’re shopping at Tesco, go to the pharmacy counter and one of our pharmacy colleagues wearing a ‘Let’s Talk’ badge can help you.”

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