The Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF)
The Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF)
In the Government’s letter from 17th December 2015 entitled ‘Community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond’, the Department of Health (DH) announced that it would consult on a ‘Pharmacy Integration Fund’ (PhIF) to help transform how pharmacists and community pharmacy will operate in the NHS.
The Fund is the responsibility of NHS England and is separate to any negotiations related to the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF). It will be used to validate and inform any future reform of the CPCF going forward.
The aim of the PhIF is to support the development of clinical pharmacy practice in a wider range of primary care settings, resulting in a more integrated and effective NHS primary care patient pathway. In particular, the PhIF is intended to drive the greater use of community pharmacy, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in new, integrated local care models.
The fund will be worth £42 million over the next two years, and will cover the costs of an Urgent Medicine Supply Service pilot and an urgent minor illness care pilot. There will also be educational grants for community pharmacists to access postgraduate clinical pharmacy education and training courses up to diploma level from April 2017.
NHS England has said that it intends to use some of the fund in later years to fund pharmacists working in care homes and urgent care centres; neither of which will necessarily benefit community pharmacies. NHS England has also committed to spending at least 10% of the fund on the evaluation of services.
Click on a heading below for more information.
What will the PhIF focus on?
The key areas for the operational delivery of the Five Year Forward View will be used as the guiding principles for deployment of the Fund i.e.:
- Improving care and quality;
- Improving health and wellbeing; and
- Closing the finance and efficiency gap.
The PhIF will be used to commission and evaluate activities that bring about clinical pharmacy integration within the NHS and the community demonstrating improvements in health outcomes for patients and the public in primary care and in the community. This will include the delivery of medicines optimisation and the improvement of health and wellbeing, both through community pharmacies and elsewhere in primary care as part of an integrated patient pathway and for the general public.
The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Independent Review of Community Pharmacy Clinical Services is planned to report at the end of 2016 and this will inform how the Fund will be used to invest in shaping the integration of community pharmacy clinical services.
Public Health England is developing a ‘value proposition’ to inform the local commissioning of community pharmacy services by local authorities as referenced in the December 2015 letter.
How much will the Fund be worth?
For 2016/17, NHS England has allocated £2 million to roll out two initiatives to integrate pharmacy into urgent care: a national Urgent Medicines Supply Service pilot as a referral from NHS 111; and work to improve access to pharmacy minor illness services via NHS 111.
For 2017/18, £40 million will be used to fund a range of workforce developments for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in a range of settings to better integrate pharmacy into NHS primary care services.
There has been a commitment to use up to 5% of the PhIF for evaluation of any programmes of work supported by the Fund. Ongoing planning and engagement with stakeholders will help to shape and determine the further deployment of the Fund beyond 2018.
Pharmacy Integration Priorities: Years 1 and 2
Health Education England (HEE) is producing a workforce plan for pharmacy professionals for March 2017 that covers the whole health care system which will inform future investment in developing staff pre- and post-registration.
The following initial programme of workforce development has already been commissioned through the Fund to develop the post-registration pharmacy workforce:
- educational grants for community pharmacists to undertake post-graduate clinical pharmacy certificate training that potentially can lead to a clinical pharmacy diploma;
- pharmacy technician clinical leadership programme;
- training and development for pharmacists working in care homes – to include independent prescribing qualification; and
- training and development for pharmacists working in integrated urgent care clinical hubs, including NHS 111 and GP Out of Hours – to include independent prescribing qualification.
The PhIF care homes task and finish group, jointly chaired by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and NHS England, is using the NHS England’s Framework for Enhanced Health in Care Homes to identify how to develop integrated clinical pharmacy models to support care home residents. The intention is to develop the new models of integrated clinical pharmacy for people looked after in their own homes.
The following areas have been identified for development:
- mapping the range of services provided by community pharmacies to care homes and how they are commissioned; and
- deployment of pharmacy professionals into care homes and evaluation of the models of integrated clinical pharmacy that achieve the best outcomes for patients.
Integrated Urgent Care
The Integrated Urgent Care (IUC) / NHS 111 / NHS England / HEE Workforce Development Programme has undertaken some initial pilot studies to evaluate the role of the clinical pharmacist working within the NHS 111 contact centre. This pilot work and the NHS 111 Phase 2 Learning and Development programme have shown that pharmacists can add value to the clinical skill mix working within the Clinical IUC hub, completing calls and providing self-care advice across a range of calls that involve the use of medicines.