Just as effective flood defence needs more investment upstream, so does managing the funding crisis in health and social care.
The massive footfall in more than 12,000 community pharmacies in the UK could provide the NHS’s most effective outreach and its most cost-effective services. Pharmacists and their trained staff advise the public on how to be and stay healthy, signpost to enable early diagnosis of illlness, contribute to the availability of patient services proportionate to need and, in short, when effectively deployed, they cut costs without reducing care.
Yet while pharmacists in hospitals and the community advise and work alongside other health professions to improve the efficiency and safety of prescribing and help patients get the best from their medicines, I have not found in The Guardian’s week-long overview of the health service (‘This is the NHS’, 18–22 January 2016) a single reference to the profession.
This astonishing oversight is more damaging to the future viability of the NHS because development of pharmacists’ contribution requires public awareness of what they can do.
Newcastle Upon Tyne