Pharmacy Voice and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) have published a report that details how community pharmacy should be the first port of call for non-emergency episodic care and facilitate personalised care for people with long-term conditions.
The ‘Community pharmacy forward view’, published on 30 August 2016, sets out how the profession can best support the care system envisaged in the NHS’s ‘Five year forward view’, published by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens in October 2014.
Pharmacy Voice, which represents the community pharmacy sector in England, and the PSNC, which negotiates on behalf of community pharmacists in England, decided to produce the document after the government rejected the PSNC’s counterproposals for cutting £170m from the community pharmacy budget.
“The ‘Community pharmacy forward view’ describes how a thriving pharmacy network could effectively support the high performing, affordable health and care system envisaged in the NHS ‘Five year forward view’,” says Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC.
“The health and care system needs community pharmacy to play its part in improving the care of patients and helping people to stay healthy, so we hope that the Department of Health, NHS England and local service commissioners will positively engage with us to explore how this vision can inform the future commissioning of community pharmacy services.”
The document proposes that the public be encouraged to think ‘pharmacy first’ for non-emergency episodic care and that systems that enable triage to and referral from community pharmacy should be included in all local urgent care pathways and the NHS 111 service.
Under the proposals, pharmacies will provide access to diagnostics and will be able to make appointments with other health professionals. Pharmacists will be able to prescribe as well as supply products, and be able to add data to an individual’s shared care record about advice they have given or products supplied.
The report also recommends that diagnostics and point-of care testing should be routinely available in community pharmacy settings, as well as facilities for making appointments with or speaking directly to other professionals and service providers.
The proposals also say that community pharmacists and their teams should be able to fast track referrals and book people directly into other services if deemed necessary.
For people with long-term conditions, community pharmacists will provide support following diagnosis, monitoring and adjusting treatment according to outcomes defined in an individual’s care and support plan, the report says while they should also ensure that all medicine-related aspects of care are managed safely and efficiently when a patient’s circumstances change, e.g. when admitted to or leaving hospital.
In some cases, patients will be able to register with a community pharmacy to coordinate their care and support them with management of their long-term condition, the report says.
Pharmacy Voice and the PSNC also say that pharmacies should operate as neighbourhood health and well-being centres, becoming the ‘go-to’ destination for support, advice and resources on staying well and living independently. Pharmacy staff should also be able to refer or signpost people to local community groups, charities, places of worship, leisure and library facilities, social care, education, employment, housing and welfare services, according to the report.
It is also recommended that pharmacies work closely with employers to support workplace health initiatives, and help people make best use of data, technology and devices they use to monitor and manage their own physical and mental health and well-being.
Source: Pharmacy Voice
Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, says that while the proposals “may appear ambitious”, they are based on innovative work that is happening now. “We want this best practice to become commonplace across the pharmacy network,” he adds.
Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, which supports the recommendations, says: “For many months pharmacists and their teams have faced uncertainty about the future, the Community Pharmacy Forward View is designed to provide a sense of direction for community pharmacy, from community pharmacy. We are committed to working with the PSNC and Pharmacy Voice to make sure the views of patients, the public as well as RPS members shape these proposals into practical changes that will improve care through making the most of community pharmacists’ skills.”
Asked to comment on the proposals, David Mowat, minister for community health and care, says: “Pharmacy is a vital front line service and I am looking forward to working with the sector to understand more about the opportunities and challenges in this area.
“I am determined to support the sector as it modernises, making sure that we make the most of pharmacists’ skills and provide the best possible service to the public.”
Kate Ravenscroft, head of policy and research at the NHS Confederation, says the report contains “helpful ideas which are well worth exploring”.
The largest pharmacy chains also welcome the proposals. Tricia Kennerley, vice president director of international public affairs at Walgreens Boots Alliance, says: “It is critical that the sector collaborates to bring this vision to life as it will transform how community pharmacy delivers enhanced care to patients and value to the wider NHS.”
Meanwhile, Cormac Tobin, managing director of Celesio UK, which includes Lloydspharmacy, says the company “fully supports this vision, which comes at a pivotal time as we face challenges to our funding, but also have opportunities to shape our future role as an important element of the frontline health service”.
“We will do all we can to support our colleagues, the sector and its leaders as this work continues to develop, and we hope that the government and the new minister work with us to turn this into a reality,” he adds.