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a ae imageMarch 6 2018

A report assessing what progress is being made to reduce the impact of emergency admissions on hospital care omits any mention of community pharmacy’s contribution.

The National Audit Office report says that some emergency admissions could be avoided “by providing appropriate care and support earlier to prevent a person becoming unwell enough to require an emergency admission.” It also notes: “Efforts to reduce emergency admissions can create additional demand for general practice and local authorities’ social services.”

However, the NAO’s report does not mention pharmacy by name, and makes only one reference to medication reviews in relation to enhanced care in the care home setting. It does propose primary care among interventions to prevent emergency admissions, but again with only one mention of self-care. This is in the context of actions that can be taken to reduce emergency admissions at any stage of a person’s care, depending on their needs.

Commenting on the report, PSNC’s Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, said: “As the NHS seeks to reduce emergency hospital admissions while grappling with its financial and capacity issues, it simply cannot afford to overlook the very great contribution that community pharmacies could make to these efforts.”

Mr Buxton agreed with the NAO’s conclusion that rising admissions pose a serious challenge to both the service and financial position of the NHS. But he added: “As a key part of primary care, and the healthcare providers who come into most regular contact with many patients, community pharmacies have an important role to play.

“We know that by helping patients to manage long-term conditions, to stay healthy and to get most benefit from their medicines, community pharmacists can help to reduce admissions and readmissions. This is particularly the case for people with respiratory conditions, and where pharmacists can help people to reduce their risk of having falls.”

Recommendations in the report highlighted by PSNC include:

  • the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement should establish an evidence base for what works in reducing emergency admissions and use this to inform future national programmes;
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement should determine and accelerate the dissemination of the learnings from the new care models;
  • NHS England and NHS Digital should link hospital activity data with primary, community health care and social care data; and
  • the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement should develop a data led understanding of what causes local variations and set out how and by when they will reduce those variations.

Links:
NAO announcement    
NAO ‘Reducing emergency admissions’ report details   
NAO ‘Reducing emergency admissions’. March 2 2018.
PSNC statement           

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