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Kevin BarronJuly 16 2018

Community pharmacy’s involvement in managing long term conditions should be better recognised by the Government, parliamentarians have said.

The call was made as the All Party Pharmacy Group published a report, ‘In Good Health’, following its inquiry into long term conditions. In it, the APPPG says that “people with long term conditions are being passed from pillar to post around the NHS, with opportunities for intervention being missed, and too much duplication.”

It noted that patients called for care to be “personal to them and their individual circumstances and priorities.” Patient groups also highlighted schemes that are working in specific areas and which could be expanded.

The report contains four key recommendations: 

  • patients with one or more condition must have access to a care plan, giving them control over how their condition is managed, and allowing them to set goals for treatment and review progress with a healthcare professional regularly;
  • NHS England should take a lead on integration in primary care by aligning contracts and incentives for different providers;
  • a national service specification should be agreed for signposting patients to appropriate services, which CCGs should commission;
  • innovative community pharmacy services should be commissioned at a national level once their effectiveness and value for money has been demonstrated at a local level.

APPG Chairman Sir Kevin Barron MP (pictured) said: “Patients go to pharmacies more often than any other part of the health system, and charities told us that community pharmacies can play a much greater role in supporting patients and improving their health. We heard a number of proposals from pharmacists on how pharmacy services could improve care.

“This report’s recommendations will create a context in which services can be developed to improve outcomes for people with long-term conditions. These recommendations should not delay or replace negotiations on the community pharmacy contract, but our expectation is that the Government will enter negotiations with these recommendations firmly in mind.”

APPG has written to the health minister Steve Brine asking him to “consider our recommendations for the future of pharmacy policy.” Negotiations on the new pharmacy contract in England have been promised but have yet to get underway.

Acting Director of Communications and Public Affairs at PSNC, Zoe Long, added: “We are very pleased that the APPG shares our ambition for community pharmacies to provide more comprehensive care for people with long-term conditions, and grateful to the MPs for their interest in this area. 

“We were particularly pleased to note that the group agrees that community pharmacy is ideally placed to provide a care plan service for the benefit of patients, as we proposed earlier this year.”

Links:
APPG announcement    
APPG ‘In Good Health A Report following the All Party Pharmacy Group’s 2018 Inquiry into Long Term Conditions’. July 11 2018 
APPG letter to Health Minister 
PSNC comment             

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