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Health check measures up

Wednesday, 23rd February, 2011

KEEN: Pharmacist Alex Page. KEEN: Pharmacist Alex Page.

By Caitlin Keenan

A local pharmacist has welcomed the NSW coalition's $10 million "Community Health Check" plan.

Under the plan pharmacists would check people's blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels and waist circumference.

Pharmacist Alex Page from Broken Hill South Pharmacy said he thought using pharmacists to give people health checks was a good idea.

Mr Page said people often asked about getting measured at the pharmacy and while they already offer blood pressure measurements, the extra services would be great.

"Been in the pipeline for a while now" he said. "So hopefully we'll have a framework to how this can get rolled out."

Mr Page said the plan should ease the burden on GPs and hospitals.

It might also increase pharmacists' workload but he said he wasn't worried about that.

"The industry and government are investing more in the additional services we can offer," he said.

Local Nationals MP John Williams said the plan aimed to improve the health of those at risk of, or who suffer from, conditions such as diabetes, asthma, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

"If chronic diseases are detected early, basic changes to diet and lifestyle can prevent early onset of many conditions," he said.

"This program will drive improvements to people's quality of life, as well as reducing the costs of hospitalisation to workplace productivity and the wider community."

Mr Williams said the plan was especially important to him because of high obesity levels in his Murray-Darling electorate.

"Recent statistics from the Riverina Division of General Practice estimate that 47.6 per cent of Broken Hill's population is overweight or obese, with similar statistics being reflected throughout the Electorate."

Mr Williams said the Coalition's plan was one step towards "reversing an alarming trend in poor health and decreasing the statistics the Murray-Darling Electorate is producing."

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