With all the challenges the NHS is facing, we need to be able to demonstrate the quality and cost-effectiveness of what community pharmacy can provide. As such, it is great to see your editorial raising the profile of pharmacy practice research (
Pharmaceutical Journal 2016;297:128), which is often overlooked and its value underestimated.
That is why Boots UK has an active research agenda, where we recognise the need to push the role of pharmacy forward by evidencing the good work we can do. We collaborate with academics, other pharmacy providers and the government on many successful projects and seek to publish in peer reviewed journals to build a map of evidence to support other providers and negotiators. With the University of Nottingham, we gathered evidence to support influenza vaccination in pharmacy and in collaboration with experts in the NHS we developed and evaluated an innovative sore throat test and treat service.
We are also working with behavioural insights experts at the Department of Health on a large randomised controlled trial to support medicines adherence and we are part of the Community Pharmacy Future project, a collaboration of pharmacy providers, which develops and evaluates new pharmacy services (providing health economic evidence). We also have the Boots research governance process to facilitate and enhance any research conducted through our pharmacies and last year we supported 42 research projects.
The NHS is facing immense and challenging change. Funding cuts, new models of care, changing patient journeys and shifting roles of professionals mean that robust evaluation is more important than ever so that the right decisions can be made and we can progress towards the vision outlined in the ‘Community pharmacy forward view’. We have recognised the importance of research in pharmacy practice, but we call on all community pharmacy providers, big and small, to join us to and make it their highest priority. In doing so, we can fight against the commoditisation of the sector and compellingly demonstrate the enormous value community pharmacy can offer.
Vice-president, director of international public affairs
Walgreens Boots Alliance