The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) have submitted three briefing documents to NHS England to highlight how community pharmacy could help meet the specific challenges that the NHS is trying to address in its ten-year plan.
The briefings have each been written for the working group leading the development of the NHS’s long-term plan across three main areas: integrated and personalised care for people with long-term conditions and older people; prevention personal responsibility and health inequalities; and primary care.
The briefings all highlight how community pharmacies offer many services alongside the dispensing of medicines, and that they have much more to contribute in terms of patient care.
In the briefing on integrated and personalised care for people with long-term conditions and older people, the organisations say that pharmacies would like to play a role in more effective integrated solutions to help prevent, detect, and treat health conditions, as well as providing care for those who need it.
The briefing on prevention, personal responsibility and health inequalities calls for pharmacies to be further developed into neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres — building on the development of the Healthy Living Pharmacy model — in order to become the go-to destination for support, advice and resources on staying well and living independently.
“In contrast to many other healthcare settings, the country’s network of community pharmacy bucks the inverse care law: there is a greater density of community pharmacies in the most deprived areas per head of population. One aspect of this is that community pharmacists see many people who are not registered with GPs – and this group needs to be looked after,” the briefing says.
The briefing on primary care highlights how pharmacies can contribute directly to primary care and, in particular, how they can help patients to stay healthy and to manage any minor, short-term illnesses or long-term health conditions.
The PSNC said that the national pharmacy organisations have also been taking part in engagement events around the primary care workstream of the plan, and will be submitting responses to the wider electronic consultation on the long-term plan, which closes on 30 September 2018.