Community Pharmacy shares its Forward View: a vision for the future of care and well-being in the local community

Pharmacy Voice and PSNC, with the support of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, have released their vision for the future of community pharmacy with a focus on the availability of more personalised care and well-being services for patients in pharmacies.

In the scenarios outlined in this Community Pharmacy Forward View, pharmacy teams would be fully integrated into wider health and care services in order to improve quality and access for patients, increase NHS efficiency and produce better health outcomes for all.

Community pharmacies are the nation’s most accessible healthcare providers but remain under- utilised.  With 90% of the population living within 20 minutes walking distance of a pharmacy, they manage the safe and efficient supply of medicines and provide clinical services, as well as being able to convey health messages, support and advice opportunistically to 1.6 million people every day, many of whom do not regularly use other health services.

The Community Pharmacy Forward View is the culmination of months of joint working between PV and PSNC, and sets out a shared vision for the sector.

The sector-led vision focuses on 3 key outlooks for the future of community pharmacy

  • As the facilitator of personalised care for people with long-term conditions
  • As the trusted, convenient first port of call for episodic healthcare advice and treatment
  • As the neighbourhood health and wellbeing hub

 

Community pharmacy teams will support people with long-term conditions and their carers by providing a one-stop hub for people who use medicines regularly to obtain advice, treatment and coordination of care related to medicines. This will include support following diagnosis, monitoring and adjusting treatment based on achieving defined outcomes, and ensuring as far as possible that patient transfers across care settings are managed efficiently as far as the medicines components of care are concerned.

To achieve this vision, community pharmacists and their teams will work in partnership with their colleagues across the wider health and care system.  In some areas, people will be able to register with a community pharmacy to coordinate their care and support them with management of their Long-term condition, where this is agreed as appropriate between the individual, their GP and pharmacist.

Thinking ‘pharmacy first’ for non-emergency episodic care will become the public norm. To achieve this vision, systems that enable seamless triage to and referral from community pharmacy will be included in all local urgent care pathways and in the NHS 111 service.  Pharmacies will provide access to diagnostics and be able to make appointments with other health professionals.  Pharmacists will be able to prescribe as well as supply products.

Pharmacies will operate as neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres, becoming the ‘go-to’ destination for support, advice and resources on staying well and living independently in later life. As a trusted local community resource, all pharmacies will be connected with other organisations that support health, wellbeing and independence – ranging across local community groups, charities, places of worship, leisure and library facilities, social care, education, employment, housing and welfare services – and will be able to refer and sign-post people to them.

Many of these scenarios are already happening in pharmacies across the country, or could be if we had the right support and incentives in place. Our ambition is that with the right supporting systems, processes and incentives in place, and a rigorous focus on implementation and continual improvement, community pharmacy can and will deliver these three outlooks consistently across the country, enabling effective planning and commissioning of person-centred services from the community pharmacy network.

The publication of the Forward View is the first step in defining a wider, long-term vision for the future of community pharmacy.  We will now consult on the ideas in this vision, gathering the views of key stakeholders, patient groups, pharmacists and their teams, individual contractors and Government. A report showing how the vision can be implemented will be released in the future.

Commenting on the launch, Pharmacy Voice’s Chief Executive Rob Darracott said:

“The Forward View, and the development of three key areas for practice, se scenarios are our starter-for-ten.  They may appear ambitious but all of the proposals are based on the innovative work of community pharmacy teams across the country, happening right now. We want this best practise to become commonplace across the pharmacy network and we are committed to working with colleagues, partners and our stakeholders to define and develop these into an achievable, aspirational and collective vision of the future.

We want the Forward View to help create real consensus about the future role of community pharmacy in the delivery of wider healthcare services – in the midst of unprecedented pressure on both resources and demand.

We urge the new minister to engage with us on this vision when considering his next steps for our sector.”

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC, said:

“The Community Pharmacy Forward View is a joint piece of work that outlines how a thriving pharmacy network could best support the high performing, affordable health and care system envisaged in the 5YFV. It builds on previous work including PSNC’s 2012 vision for the sector, 2015 Five Point Plan and the service development proposals submitted in 2016 to the Department of Health (DH), Pharmacy Voice’s 2011 Blueprint for Better Health and its Dispensing Health reports (2014; 2015; 2016), as well as themes emerging from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) commission and report Now or Never: Shaping Pharmacy for the Future (2013) and a range of other strategies, statements and reports. The Forward View brings together, refreshes and develops this thinking, setting out the common vision of the national pharmacy bodies.”

Sandra Gidley, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board added:

“The RPS English Pharmacy Board supports the PSNC and PV Forward View initiative as a way of resetting the debate about the future of community pharmacy. For many months pharmacists and their teams have faced uncertainty about the future, the Community Pharmacy Forward View is designed to provide a sense of direction for community pharmacy, from community pharmacy. We are committed to working with PSNC and Pharmacy Voice to make sure the views of patients the public as well as RPS members shape these proposals into practical changes that will improve care through making the most of community pharmacists skills.”