Pharmacists play vital role beyond ‘doling out’ medicines, says Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Neal Patel, head of corporate communications at the RPS

The pharmacy profession needs to do more to convince NHS England of the value of community pharmacy to the health of the nation, says Neal Patel, head of corporate communications at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).

His comments come in response to remarks made by Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, at a parliamentary Public Accounts Committee session, where he suggested that the role of community pharmacists is to “dole out” medicines.

During the session, which took place on 14 September 2016, Stevens was responding to Labour MP Karin Smyth’s question about the delay to the community pharmacy funding cuts by saying that while community pharmacy is “hugely valuable” in this country, “we also have a situation where we are spending something like £2.8bn in order to dole out £8bn-worth of medicines”.

He went on to say that in order to make necessary savings “[NHS England is] going to have to be resolute on some often quite controversial decisions”.

Patel acknowledges the support that NHS England has shown to the pharmacy sector in the past, but says more needs to be done to raise the profile of pharmacy.

“NHS England has shown through, for example, its investment in new roles for pharmacists, and the roll out of the summary care record in community pharmacy that it does value the contribution of the profession to patient care,” he says.

“This month the RPS is making sure we are speaking to both MPs, local councillors and the NHS about the vital role all pharmacists play through our party political conference attendance.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Pharmacists play vital role beyond 'doling out' medicines, says Royal Pharmaceutical Society;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201756

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