The government recently announced £112m investment to create 1,500 more clinical pharmacist posts in GP surgeries. Although I support the extended role of the pharmacist across all settings, I struggle to understand the move at a time when community pharmacies are having their budget cut by £170m. The initial pilot of providing more pharmacists in GP surgeries (announced late in 2015) is still being evaluated, yet despite no evidence being published, national funding has been made available.
The NHS has limited financial resources and, as a result of increasing demands, needs to look at alternative ways of delivering care that improves efficiency and outcomes. Pharmacists in GP surgeries have an important role to play in this agenda, but not at the cost of care provided in the community. Pharmacists should work together across settings to provide services that are complementary, allowing improved communication and seamless care that improves adherence and reduces medicines wastage.
Community pharmacists have a vital role to play in supporting the appropriate use of NHS resources, particularly in providing minor ailments advice, emergency supplies and promoting self-care. They are highly accessible and operate much longer hours than GP surgeries. Surely NHS investment should be supporting keeping patients out of GP surgeries, not encouraging more people in?
The NHS has to change to be able to deliver care differently to cope with increasing demands. If elected, I want to ensure that these investment decisions are based on evidence.
English Pharmacy Board
Royal Pharmaceutical Society