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Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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pharmacy dispensingJune 22 2016

The organisation representing pharmacy owner associations has criticised the lack of time available to introduce legislation to start a raft of pharmacy reforms.

Pharmacy Voice has told the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer that “the timetable for the Government to make decisions and the sector to respond to the outcome of the consultation, is now unacceptably tight.” It has also argued that “an imposed cut to the global sum from October this year is not the right way to deliver efficiencies.”

The organisation has published its response to the Government’s proposed reforms for community pharmacy in England which will see a 6% cut in remuneration kick in from October. Other changes being proposed have been to legislate to free up hub and spoke dispensing. However, the pharmacy minister has already conceded this is unlikely to go ahead from October as had originally been anticipated.

Pharmacy Voice’s response to the consultation also expresses “disappointment that the opportunity to involve a wide range of organisations in developing more sustainable and acceptable approaches to change was not ultimately taken.” Its letter to the CPO states that “there has been very limited feedback or proper discussion on how the Government’s thinking has been informed by the submissions we and others have made.”

It has also used the response to raise its concerns over the Government’s contradictory approach to primary care: “We fail to understand how a Government which expresses fervent support for community pharmacy as a partner in developing solutions to a number of the challenges facing the NHS, cannot recognise what community pharmacy teams already do day in, day out, in support of patients and the public. What is more, the Government fails to acknowledge that many other parts of the system need to change to enable community pharmacy to make its full contribution.”

Pharmacy Voice has been working with other pharmacy organisations on a ‘Community Pharmacy Forward View’ which is due to be published shortly. This will set out a “shared view” from the organisations “of what the sector wants to achieve and how it believes it can contribute to the high performing health and care system described in the Five Year Forward View for the NHS.”

Commenting on the status of this project, Pharmacy Voice Chief Executive Rob Darracott said: “Pharmacy Voice first outlined its ambition for the sector in our 2011 ‘Blueprint for Better Health’. In this final submission to the recent consultation we have included our initial ideas for updating that ambition and vision in light of the opportunities and challenges that the health and care system now faces, within a draft paper setting out the ‘Community Pharmacy Forward View’.

“There are two important features to this update. First, we are very pleased to say that the document is being developed in partnership between Pharmacy Voice and the PSNC, with input from local community pharmacy leaders and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

“Secondly, as well as setting out our shared aspirations we are also discussing what needs to happen to ensure they are realised. This includes outlining actions the sector itself must take, but just as importantly what support we need from the Government, NHS and other partners in doing so.”

Pharmacy Voice has emphasised its commitment to working with the Department of Health and NHS England to design a shared plan to release the potential of the sector, said Mr Darracott. “In submitting our ideas for the future we have reinforced the seriousness of our intent and the potential in our offer, as well as our desire to work constructively and collaboratively with other sector bodies at a national and local level.

“We call on the Government and national NHS bodies to respond in kind: to commit to working with Pharmacy Voice and other sector bodies to develop a clear and shared vision for the future role of community pharmacy within an integrated health and care system, and to invest in the implementation of a plan that genuinely places community pharmacy at the heart of the NHS.”

Links:

Pharmacy Voice announcement

Pharmacy Voice consultation response

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