The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has joined other primary care bodies in calling for pharmacists and other primary healthcare professionals to be represented on integrated care boards (ICBs).
Under proposals set out in the Health and Care Bill, published in July 2021, which plans to reform healthcare in England and is currently being considered by Parliament, ICBs would take on the commissioning functions currently held by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Currently, the Bill specifies that each ICB must include a representative from general practice — but it does not specify representation from any of the other primary care professions.
Under the Bill, each ICB would be required to form an integrated care partnership (ICP), with representation from health, public health and social care.
On 14 September 2021, the PSNC — alongside bodies including the British Medical Association and British Dental Association — wrote to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the Bill, calling on these ICPs to include “formalised roles” for GPs, dentists, pharmacists, eye care professionals and audiologists.
The letter says these roles must be remunerated so that representatives are able to “attend crucial meetings” and “be in the room when key decisions are made”.
The bodies also say that primary care budgets must be “protected and increased”, warning that this is “unlikely to happen without all parts of primary care having a seat at the strategic, decision-making table”.
Simon Dukes, chief executive of the PSNC, said: “During the pandemic, public reliance on pharmacies has increased, reflecting the importance of pharmacy services to patients and local communities.
“It is therefore important that these new local systems recognise the critical role played by pharmacies and the whole of primary care, as well as general practice.”
The Department of Health and Social Care declined to comment.