GP surgeries and accident and emergency departments are under siege. Barely a day goes past without the issue being highlighted in the nation’s media and discussed by politicians of all persuasions. Everyone, it seems, agrees that pharmacy is a significant part of the answer and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other pharmacy bodies have done a great job of making the case for pharmacy to play a significant role.
We have been waiting hopefully for an announcement from the Department of Health presaging the introduction of a nationally commissioned, pharmacy-led common ailments service which could save 57 million GP appointments and £1.1bn for the NHS.
But instead what do we get? Pharmacists are to be forced to police the highly inequitable NHS prescription charge which “might” save £150m but is another barrier to healthcare (
The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;294:4).
Meanwhile, it appears that the Department of Health has done a U-turn and will, after all, produce a response to NHS England’s PharmacyCall to Action. Let us hope that the pro-pharmacy rhetoric will now be translated into positive and affirmative action by commissioners. With the right support, pharmacy might, yet, savetheNHS.
Let us make 2015 “the year of the pharmacist”.