Healthcare professionals call for greater role for community pharmacy


Healthcare professionals call for greater role for community pharmacy

June 24, 2016

The New NHS Alliance has called for “more proactive action” from the NHS to commission a new model of community pharmacy led care and to support a greater role for pharmacy in self-care, management of minor ailments and care for people with long-term conditions.

In a report published this week the alliance of professionals from across both health and social care said it was disappointed that the NHS had failed to make best use of the expertise of community pharmacists.

The report, Supporting the Development of Community Pharmacy Practice within Primary Care, said community pharmacy must be given a clear strategy to deliver its potential.

The New NHS Alliance called for:

  • Patients with acute self-limiting illnesses to be diverted to community pharmacy;
  • GPs to support the commissioning of minor ailments services;
  • GPs to identify elements of care that could be self-care opportunities for delivery within pharmacy;
  • GPs to identify opportunities for the care of certain conditions to be transferred to community pharmacy; and
  • Commissioners to develop local plans to support community pharmacy to deliver consistent public health messages.

Community pharmacy is an “underutilised asset”, the New NHS Alliance said, and too little progress has been made in developing the possible clinical roles of community pharmacists. “It is time for more proactive action,” the report said.

New NHS Alliance co-chair Dr Mark Spencer said:

“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.”

PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe said:

“The New NHS Alliance 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.

The report recommends 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.”

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