Clive Betts MP Pledges Support for Community Pharmacies Role in Reducing Pressure on Adult Social Care

Clive Betts MP Pledges Support for Community Pharmacies Role in Reducing Pressure on Adult Social Care

April 20, 2018

Clive Betts today (20th April) visited Weldricks Pharmacy, Darnall Primary Care Centre, to meet the Pharmacy Team and hear how they are improving the health and wellbeing of people in Darnall, despite Community Pharmacy currently facing huge financial and workload pressures due to a combination of national funding cuts and extreme volatility in the medicines market. 


Clive heard how despite the unprecedented pressure on pharmacies the team at Darnall are supporting a large number of older adults to remain independent with their medication and long-term condition management as well as being one of the top providers for flu vaccination across all Sheffield Pharmacies.  If this pharmacy was to close or services lost (which is entirely possible if there is not a change to their national NHS pharmacy contract) this would be a huge blow to the local community which is already one of the most deprived in Sheffield.


As well as being one of the top performing pharmacies in Sheffield for delivering the flu vaccination service, the pharmacy also provides a wide range of services including; minor ailments scheme, substance misuse services and is an accredited Healthy Living Pharmacy, with all services supported by multi-lingual pharmacy support staff being able to offer services to meet the needs of the local population.

According to the current Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment:

Sheffield continues to be characterised by stark inequalities between different groups of people and between different geographical communities. People in the most deprived parts of the city still experience a greater burden of ill-health and early death than people in less deprived areas, demonstrating that inequalities in health and wellbeing are linked to wider social, cultural and economic determinants. It is acknowledged that putting additional support into the most deprived and disadvantaged areas and raising standards there will have a beneficial effect on the whole community.

  • Darnall is one of the most deprived areas in Sheffield, risk of pharmacy services being lost is even greater in this area than other less deprived areas of the city
  • Additional funding for additional services in pharmacies in the most deprived areas would help address some of these inequalities and improve health and wellbeing across Sheffield.
  • Local Commissioners under financial pressures; both Sheffield City Council and NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissiong Group have financial pressures of their own.

Clive is Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, who have conducted an inquiry into the long-term funding of adult social care.

Day Smith, the Pharmacy Branch Manager, explained to Clive the various ways the pharmacy team help people live independently, for example by providing;

  • Reminder charts
  • Large print labels
  • Medicine compliance aids/monitored dosage systems
  • Medication Administration Records
  • Re-ordering medication
  • Signposting to charities, local groups etc
  • Delivery of medicines, and highlighted how the funding cuts have impacted on this service that pharmacies have historically offered for free, and how some contractors can no longer offer this service and others have had to make the decision to charge patients for delivery.

The visit was also an opportunity to high-light ways pharmacy could further support older people if they were commissioned to do so with the support of a new national contractual framework:

  • Falls and fracture prevention
  • Medicines optimisation/de-prescribing unnecessary/high risk medicines
  • Long-term condition management
  • Shared IT systems and support to reduce errors during transfer of care from one setting to another
  • Domiciliary services e.g. for vaccinations, medicines review/assessment for compliance aids etc

Examples of other potential new services which could help all patients, not just older adults include;

  • Services to help in the early detection of cancer e.g. direct referral for chest x-ray, mole screening, PSA testing
  • Weight management
  • Alcohol – brief intervention service
  • Expansion of current sexual health services to offer a suite of services which could include EHC provision, pill checks and supply of oral contraceptives, depo-provera injections, HIV testing etc
  • Extension of minor ailments; UTIs, minor skin infections
  • Vaccinations

Community pharmacies are currently facing huge financial pressures. Recent funding cuts combined with extreme volatility in today’s medicines market mean that many pharmacies are now struggling to stay afloat.  We are concerned for the impact on patients, local communities and the wider NHS and public sector, if community pharmacy services are lost or reduced.

We need to make more use of Community Pharmacies

Faced with congestion in A&E Departments, busy GP surgeries and rising demand for health and social care, it is more important than ever that we make best use of the network of Community Pharmacies on our high streets to keep people healthy and out of hospitals.  We want to work more closely with GPs and do more both to help patients manage long term conditions and to support people in leading healthy lifestyles.  We would like to do that by working with Government to make the most of the valuable network of Community Pharmacies and developing new pharmacy services together.

There is a strong consensus that community pharmacies can make an even greater contribution than they do at present to relieving the rising pressure on other parts of the health service.  Community Pharmacy is ideally-placed to provide more support for patients and the public including: supporting people to manage their long-term conditions; providing the first port of call for healthcare advice and treatment; and becoming neighbourhood health and wellbeing hubs.  Yet the current direction of policy is to cut funding and consequently to see services reduce.

Claire Thomas, Chief Officer for Community Pharmacy Sheffield (the Local Pharmaceutical Committee) said:

“We need to make more use of community pharmacies to keep people well and out of other services e.g. GP practices, A&E and hospitals, and requiring social care.  To do this we need a new contractual framework.”

 Clive was asked to:

  1. Raise the following Parliamentary Questions:
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the contribution that Community Pharmacies are making to reduce pressure on adult social care.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to change the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework so that the skills and resources of Community Pharmacy Teams (other than purely dispensing medicines) can be utilised to reduce pressure in other parts of primary, secondary and social care, improving outcomes and support for patients.


  1. Support the All-Party Pharmacy Group


  1. Press local commissioners to invest in Community Pharmacy services which will help older people to live independently for longer for example; falls and fracture prevention, long term condition management, medicines compliance aids/monitored dosage systems etc.


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