A fellowship programme designed to develop the next generation of senior clinical leaders in health and social care will involve community pharmacy for the first time, it has been announced.
Under a one-year 2017/2018 Darzi Fellowship in Clinical Leadership, the UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) Cancer Collaborative will work with the UK pharmacy chain LloydsPharmacy to look into the feasibility of using community pharmacists to give patients subcutaneous hormonal injections for breast and prostate cancer.
Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, chief medical officer for UCLH Cancer Collaborative, said: “Community pharmacists have recently expanded their areas of expertise and demonstrated competence in injecting travel and flu vaccines. There is currently a drive to improve the specialism within community pharmacy to address the needs of cancer patients.”
Patients with breast or prostate cancer may be prescribed hormone therapy, administered over the long term, to treat or control their disease. This, however, can involve them travelling long distances every few weeks for a treatment that is simple and quick to administer.
“Administration closer to home would not only have benefits for patients but also may provide NHS cost savings,” said Pritchard-Jones.
“Delivery of subcutaneous injections that are not active chemotherapy are costly to both the commissioner and the acute provider. This project will determine the cost implications of delivering hormonal and simple supportive care treatment by community pharmacists,” she added.
Jill Pritchard, head of specialty pharmacy at Celesio UK (which includes LloydsPharmacy), said the project could revolutionise cancer care and potentially deliver cost savings to the NHS.
She said: “We are actively looking at how we work with the NHS to deliver new models of care. Pharmacists have proved that they have the skills and expertise to conduct injection programmes, and LloydsPharmacy stores, as they are based in communities, are an ideal and accessible location for patients.”
The fellowship project aims to create a guide and toolkit for delivering hormonal treatments in this setting. The fellow will analyse the reimbursement and costs of treating patients at UCLH or in community pharmacies, as well as working with patients, healthcare professionals and pharmacists to understand the barriers and benefits of this approach.
“The award of this fellowship to demonstrate that this new delivery model can be successful is a fantastic development and shows how community pharmacy can work with hospital pharmacy to develop new treatment pathways for the benefits of patients,” said Steve Williamson, Royal Pharmaceutical Society cancer spokesperson and Chair of British Oncology Association.
The Darzi Fellowship Programme combines work-based experience in a new environment, as well as a Masters Level Leadership Development programme.