Health Service Focus


Community pharmacy: a vital link

Source: NHE May/Jun 17

Adam Irvine, chief executive of Greater Manchester Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), explains how, unlike many sustainability and transformation plan (STP) areas, community pharmacy has an active voice in all the region’s key forums.

Greater Manchester devolution is now one year old. National requirements such as quality standards and the need for an STP still apply, but the new Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP) has taken charge of how the city-region achieves them.

There are opportunities to pilot scaled accountable care models in localities, with community pharmacy playing an active role in population health. Shared determination to see devolution succeed has energised joint working and focused minds. Barriers and boundaries have melted away.  

And community pharmacy is seen as vital in all this. Unlike many STP areas, we have an active voice in all the key forums. This was made easier when six bodies representing community pharmacy merged to create Greater Manchester LPC in October 2016. 

What difference has devolution made in practice? Funding has been devolved to GMHSCP but the majority of community pharmacy is still commissioned through national NHS England contracts. CCGs and councils can, however, commission what are known as ‘enhanced services’ such as smoking cessation, weight management, emergency hormonal contraception and needle exchange to meet local needs.  

It is here that the real opportunities of devolution currently lie and Greater Manchester LPC has been working with GMHSCP, local commissioners and other providers. We will present formal proposals this summer, and our vision has three goals: 

  • Greater consistency and equity of access so patients across Greater Manchester benefit from the same great pharmacy care
  • Innovations that make better use of pharmacists’ clinical skills and expertise
  • Freedom to enhance care with services that meet specific local needs 

Consistency and equity 

We want a standard suite of enhanced services across Greater Manchester, minimising the postcode lottery. Currently, a pharmacy on the border between different areas may be providing three different sets of services to patients living just a few streets apart. 

Greater Manchester has made good strides towards consistency. Manchester, Salford and Stockport have long provided the same minor ailments service and, from April 2017, Bury and Rochdale have also come on board. This is great, but we’re aiming for all 10 boroughs. 

Similarly, an adult inhaler-technique service is being relaunched across all 10 boroughs so all patients can access pharmacy support with their asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Innovations that harness pharmacists’ clinical skills and expertise 

We’re trialling exciting and innovative services. The Pharmacy Care Plan, launched in March, sees pharmacists ‘co-producing’ care with people with long-term conditions. Patients have regular pharmacist consultations to agree goals, outcome measures and monitor progress. It is pioneering work that will empower patients, enhance self-care and improve outcomes. 

In Trafford, we’re piloting pharmacy-based support for people with atrial fibrillation, a condition that increases stroke risk fivefold. Community pharmacists will manage care with the patient’s GP by undertaking an in-depth anticoagulant consultation. Pharmacist and patient will together discuss medication and lifestyle advice to reduce stroke risk and agree a course of action; the pharmacist will recommend it to the patient’s GP. 

These are just two examples of how community pharmacy can enhance care. Both pilots will be underpinned by greater data sharing between professionals through the ‘GM Connect’ programme.

 The future? 

This is just the beginning, and community pharmacy can offer even more, subject to appropriate resourcing.  

No other profession knows as much about medication, and Greater Manchester has signed a pioneering agreement with pharma to accelerate research on innovative treatments. 

The accessibility of community pharmacy means it is ideally placed to enhance urgent care provision, including liaison with GPs and practice pharmacists through data sharing. We are also open to exploring new funding models – for example, through capitation – if it proves mutually acceptable and workable. 

One year in, the enthusiasm and commitment for devolution has not waned despite constraints including continued pressures on capacity and resources across health and social care. Community pharmacy sees itself as a vital part of the solution and, so far, commissioners in charge of Greater Manchester’s devolved £6bn budget seem to agree. The response to the proposals we put forward this summer will show how committed people really are.




There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Half of STPs at an advanced stage, but rankings are ‘mixed blessing’

21/07/2017Half of STPs at an advanced stage, but rankings are ‘mixed blessing’

The 44 sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) footprints in England have been rated and ranked by overall performance for the first ... more >
Mackey calls on trusts to cull ‘unsustainable’ spending on agency staff

21/07/2017Mackey calls on trusts to cull ‘unsustainable’ spending on agency staff

Providers have this week been urged to up their efforts to reduce agency spending which has reportedly reached an “unsustainable” lev... more >
Mental health providers urged to adopt quality improvement initiatives

21/07/2017Mental health providers urged to adopt quality improvement initiatives

Mental health providers have been called upon to adopt quality improvement more in order to make care for patients better. The call comes fr... more >

editor's comment

13/06/2017Tackling the major challenges facing the NHS

As you will have gathered from the front cover, a theme that runs throughout this edition of NHE is about empowering and involving the workforce in order to deliver innovative change across the system.  Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, highlights on page 16 the importance of sustainability and trans... read more >

last word

A clear strategy for change is needed for health and social care

A clear strategy for change is needed for health and social care

Nigel Edwards, CEO at the Nuffield Trust, argues that it would be a lost opportunity if the next government does not seek to put both health and social care funding on a more sustainable footing.... more > more last word articles >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Why diversity and inclusion are critical to leading much-needed change in the NHS

12/07/2017Why diversity and inclusion are critical to leading much-needed change in the NHS

Despite 30 years of investment, the equality and diversity agenda hasn’t moved forward at anywhere near the pace we would have liked. Indeed, many colleagues have lost sight of the value this work brings. Tracie Jolliff, head of inclusion and systems leadership at the NHS Leadership Academy, explores the need to go back to basics. The NHS is attempting to shift towards a preventative agenda: rather than treating people who are ill... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >


Hoping for cross-organisational change

21/07/2017Hoping for cross-organisational change

Mark Orchard, president of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and director of finance at Poole Hospital NHS FT, discusse... more >
Making community pharmacy integral to STP solutions

21/07/2017Making community pharmacy integral to STP solutions

James Roach discusses his work with the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) to develop a new community pharmacy service offering for sustainabili... more >
Time to heed the winter warning from the frontline

19/07/2017Time to heed the winter warning from the frontline

As we head into the peak of summer most people will be thinking sunbeds rather than hospital beds. But as a new report by NHS Providers indicates... more >
Designing services properly

19/07/2017Designing services properly

Terry Young, professor of healthcare systems at Brunel University London and a founder of the Cumberland Initiative, argues that we should drop s... more >
Making the most of NHS estate

27/06/2017Making the most of NHS estate

Clive Shore, acting executive director (partnering) of Community Health Partnerships (CHP), explains how the organisation’s expert facilita... more >


Working collectively to improve cancer outcomes for patients

20/06/2017Working collectively to improve cancer outcomes for patients

Last year, the cancer vanguard established the Pharma Challenge. Rob Duncombe, pharmacy director at the Christie NHS FT, gives NHE an update on t... more >
A great place to work

16/06/2017A great place to work

The Walton Centre NHS FT has been identified by NHS England as one of only 12 exemplar organisations in the NHS for its work in health and wellbe... more >
A fork in the road for the NHS

06/06/2017A fork in the road for the NHS

Niall Dickson, chief executive of NHS Confederation, talks to NHE’s Josh Mines ahead of Confed2017 about the organisation’s 10-p... more >
Tight timetable for nursing associate  regulation

28/03/2017Tight timetable for nursing associate regulation

Jackie Smith, chief executive at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), talks to NHE’s David Stevenson about the challenges her organisat... more >
Improving the flow

13/02/2017Improving the flow

Glen Burley, chief executive of South Warwickshire NHS FT, explains how his organisation has been able to improve patient flow through its emerge... more >