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pharmacy dispensingJune 29 2016

The NHS should support clinical pharmacist roles in community pharmacies as well as at GP practices, the New NHS Alliance has proposed.

It has raised concern that there is not a community pharmacy led new model of care being tested among the primary care vanguard pilots, which tend to be centred on GP practices, or among the PM Challenge Fund pilots.

“The NHS needs clinical pharmacists within general practice, urgent care and out of hours, nursing homes and many other multidisciplinary teams,” it has said. In addition, “the NHS also needs clinical pharmacists within a community pharmacy setting and a strategy for community pharmacy to deliver its potential.”

The proposals are set out in a new report, ‘Supporting the Development of Community Pharmacy Practice within Primary Care’. It wants NHS England to make better use of the expertise of the community pharmacist “within their locations in the heart of many communities.”

Dr Mark Spencer, co-chair, New NHS Alliance, said: “We must recognise community pharmacy as a professional clinical retail healthcare environment and as an integral member of the primary care team.

“We must also recognise the pharmacy’s unique position within the community and their ability to reduce demand within general practice as part of the solution to the crisis within general practice. The NHS Alliance would therefore like to bring a balance to the discussion about the future development of pharmacy services by emphasizing how high street pharmacy provision can enhance patient care within a multi-facetted integrated model.”

Among the recommendations made in the New NHS Alliance report are that:

  • NHS England should commission a community pharmacy led new model of care looking to fully utilise the pharmacist’s expertise within the heart of communities;
  • GPs must support community pharmacy as the first call point for patients with acute self-limiting conditions and minor ailments, both as commissioners and partners in delivery;
  • GPs, community pharmacy representatives and Government should work together to reclassify medicines and reconsider NHS reimbursement;
  • GPs should play a lead role in ensuring that complete pathways of care are commissioned that avoid duplication of effort;
  • GPs should identify element of holistic care that can be identified as self-care opportunities for delivery within a community pharmacy;
  • GPs have a leading role in the commissioning and development of services from community pharmacy;
  • GPs should identify situations where, once the diagnosis has been made the complete care of that condition can be transferred to the community pharmacy under an agreed treatment protocol;
  • Directors of Public Health, CCG commissioning leads, GPs and community pharmacy representatives should create a local plan to support community pharmacies in delivering a consistent public health message and associated services to their catchment population.

PSNC’s Chief Executive, Sue Sharpe, said the report “highlights the need for the NHS to make better use of community pharmacy both to improve patient care and to reduce pressure on other healthcare professionals.

“We have been pressing for this for many years, and NHS England’s refusal to recognise the help community pharmacy can give the NHS, for example through a national Pharmacy First service, is a disgrace. This report shows that professionals from across healthcare are as disappointed as we are by the NHS ignoring the value of community pharmacy services.”

She flagged up the report’s recommendation that the NHS should make use of community pharmacies for self-care, minor ailments and the management of long-term conditions. “These echo proposals that PSNC has put forward to the Government and NHS England on many occasions. We hope they will take note of NHS Alliance” she said.

Links:

New NHS Alliance announcement

‘Supporting the Development of Community Pharmacy Practice within Primary Care’ report

PSNC comment

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