Make use of community pharmacists’ skills, says NICE

Make use of community pharmacists’ skills, says NICE

January 19, 2020

Community pharmacy teams have the potential to play a greater role in health promotion and prevention says NICE, in a new draft quality standard.

The draft quality standard calls for community pharmacy services to be included in existing care and referral pathways. This will allow community pharmacy teams to accept as well as make referrals to the service most appropriate for the person.

People are encouraged to discuss their health and wellbeing with community pharmacy teams. They can ask for information and advice about smoking, alcohol or maintaining a healthy weight.

Commenting on the proposed quality standards, Primary Care Minister, Jo Churchill, said:

“Highly-skilled Community Pharmacists are an integral and trusted part of the NHS and we want every patient with a minor illness, or those seeking wellbeing guidance, to think ‘Pharmacy First’.

“As the health service treats more patients than ever before, it is paramount that, where appropriate, patients can be assessed close to home, saving unnecessary trips to A&E or their GP and helping them get the care they need quicker.

“Community Pharmacies are also uniquely placed within their community to be locally commissioned to provide services to help people look after their own health and to tackle health inequalities.”

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said:

“Community pharmacists engage every day with people who buy over-the-counter medicines, collect prescriptions or ask for advice. This is a vital opportunity to support people to maintain good health but also signpost them to other health services.

“Integrating community pharmacies into local care and referral pathways, will offer people effective, convenient and easily accessible services, reduce duplication of work and relieve pressure on the wider health and social care system.”

The quality standard acknowledges that many community pharmacists have good relationships with the local population and an understanding of the physical, economic and social challenges some individuals face. This knowledge could be used to support the most vulnerable members of the community and help to reduce health inequalities, for example providing information tailored to a specific audience, such as in a different language.

This advice supports targets set out in NHS England’s Long-Term plan to make greater use of community pharmacists’ skills and opportunities to engage patients.

PSNC will review the draft quality standard at its February 2020 Committee meeting, after which it will submit its response to the consultation.

The draft quality standard is open for consultation until 5pm on 14th February 2020.


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