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21.06.16

Community pharmacies should be put at heart of care delivery – New NHS Alliance

Community pharmacies should be put at the heart of delivering care, the new NHS Alliance has said in a new report.

The report says that NHS England should consider commissioning a community pharmacy led model of care and that GPs should support community pharmacy as the first call point for patients with acute self-limiting conditions and minor ailments.

It says that allowing pharmacies to take more of the burden in providing care would help reduce problems facing the NHS, including financial shortfalls, pressure on GPs and increased patient expectations of care.

Dr Mark Spencer, co-chair of the New NHS Alliance, said: “New NHS Alliance is disappointed that there is not a community pharmacy led new model of care and that the NHS has failed to fully utilise the expertise of the community pharmacist within their locations in the heart of many communities. We must recognise community pharmacy as a professional clinical retail healthcare environment and as an integral member of the primary care team.

“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 emphasising how high street pharmacy provision can enhance patient care within a multi-facetted integrated model.”

The report says that the 11,700 community pharmacies in the UK serve 1.6 million people a day and provide services including physiological measurements and blood and STI tests, including in rural areas that do not have other healthcare resources.

The ‘Making time in general practice’ report found that 27% of GP appointments were avoidable and 5.5% could have been dealt with in a community pharmacy.

The New NHS Alliance also recommended that GPs should commission more from pharmacies, including transferring complete treatment for a patient to a pharmacy under agreed circumstances.

In addition, it suggested that directors of public health, CCG leads, GPs and community pharmacy leads should create a local plan to support community pharmacies in delivering public health messages.

See the most recent edition of NHE for more coverage of the changing role of pharmacists, including interviews with Dr Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, and Andrew Davies, a member of the pharmacy team on the Carter Report.

(Image c. New NHS Alliance)

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