Primary care networks (PCNs) should make greater use of community pharmacy-based independent prescribers, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said.
The call was made in a joint statement with the Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association, which highlights the expansion of the community pharmacist role in PCNs.
While increasing numbers of community pharmacists are trained as independent prescribers, the statement claims that some are “unable to fully utilise their prescribing qualification” and addressing this within the PCN would “better support the delivery of care and care closer to home”.
The statement adds that community pharmacists within the boundaries of a PCN should also consider what they could offer the network.
However, it notes that infrastructure needs to be improved if community pharmacies are to fulfil their potential in PCNs. In particular, community pharmacists need to be able to access, and share, patient information through network-wide electronic systems “to deliver seamless care for patients”.
“This needs to include the delivery of interoperable systems across networks,” the statement says, adding that mechanisms need to be in place to enable “referrals from community pharmacies to GP practices”.
A second joint statement, which focuses on clinical pharmacists employed by PCNs, sets out the specialist expertise that PCN pharmacists bring, particularly in managing patients who are experiencing chronic diseases and complex polypharmacy. As PCNs become more established, the statement says, consultant pharmacists within PCNs could support systems leadership — both within PCNs and also in integrated care systems and sustainability and transformation partnerships.