My vision for the future of holistic patient-centred care around medicines is for primary care to integrate community and hospital pharmacy into patient care pathways and maximise their contribution. Investment in improved pharmaceutical care to support independent living, reduce medication risks and deliver better patient outcomes will represent good value for the NHS.
Community pharmacies, which come into contact with one million patients per day, are ideally placed to deliver more in the way of pharmaceutical care. This requires alignment of the GP and community pharmacy contracts, with proper funding directed at delivering optimum holistic patient care. Hospital pharmacists need to be an integrated part of pathways and be commissioned to share their expert knowledge with the wider healthcare system in the community to help prevent medicines-related admissions. As the experts on medicines, pharmacists need more funding to have a greater impact. Pharmacists are particularly skilled in the management of multi-morbidity, which is a growing burden on healthcare funding and one that pharmacists are uniquely qualified to manage.
I have been the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board lead for medicines optimisation — a patient-centred approach to improving safety and outcomes from medicines — for more than two years now and much has been achieved in this time. There is still much more to be done.
The challenge is how to implement medicines optimisation across all healthcare settings and make it a routine part of every healthcare professional’s practice. The answer lies in leadership of medicines optimisation by all pharmacists working together as part of commissioned patient pathways that deliver better care for patients and better value for the NHS (from the £15bn spent on medicines each year).
I ask for members’ support for me in the primary care sector on the English Pharmacy Board to continue to influence decision-makers at the highest levels and to ensure the best results for pharmacists and for patients.
English Pharmacy Board
Royal Pharmaceutical Society