MPs back national scheme for pharmacy to help manage long-term conditions

Following an inquiry, the All-Party Pharmacy Group has issued various recommendations for the government to consider when negotiating the new community pharmacy contract.

Sir Kevin Barron

All patients with one or more long-term conditions (LTCs) must have access to a personalised care plan by 2020 to help them take control of their health, a report written by the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) says.

It is one of four recommendations made in the report, which was published on 11 July 2018 in advance of negotiations on a new community pharmacy contract.

The APPG’s other recommendations reiterate that pharmacists should have full read/write access to patient records; a national service specification should be agreed for the provision of high-quality services to help patients with LTCs, to be commissioned by clinical commissioning groups and signposted by charities and community pharmacy; and it says patients across England should be able to expect similar levels of service from the NHS.

It says: “Patients across England must be able to expect the same levels of service from the NHS, irrespective of how local commissioners and providers choose to arrange them. By default, innovative community pharmacy services should be commissioned at a national level once their effectiveness and value for money has been demonstrated at a local level.”

In a letter to pharmacy minister Steve Brine earlier this year, the APPG said the forthcoming negotiations on the pharmacy contract presented an opportunity to implement the group’s recommendations.

Kevin Barron, chair of the APPG, said: “These recommendations should not delay or replace negotiations on the community pharmacy contract, but our expectation is that the government will enter negotiations with these recommendations firmly in mind.”

The report follows an inquiry by the APPG, which ran from 27 February 2018 to 14 May 2018 and heard from organisations representing patients with a range of LTCs, as well as pharmacists and organisations representing pharmacy. The aim was to gain an understanding of how care can be improved for people with LTCs and what part pharmacy could play.

According to Barron, the inquiry heard that people with LTCs are being “passed from pillar to post around the NHS”, with opportunities for intervention being missed, too much duplication and not enough communication within the multidisciplinary team.

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2018, Vol 301, No 7915;301(7915):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205160