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 today released their vision for the future of community pharmacy. The Community Pharmacy Forward View sets out the sector’s ambitions to radically enhance and expand the personalised care, support and well-being services that community pharmacies provide. In the scenarios outlined in the report, pharmacy teams would be fully integrated with other local 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. 90% of the population live within 20 minutes walking distance of a pharmacy, and pharmacies are open for longer hours than many other health services, including at evenings and weekends. They manage the safe and efficient supply of medicines, provide a wide range of clinical services, and have the potential to convey health messages, support and advice opportunistically to 1.6 million people every day.
The Community Pharmacy Forward View is the culmination of joint working between Pharmacy Voice and PSNC, supported by the RPS, and sets out their shared ambition for the sector.
The sector-led vision focuses on 3 key roles for the community pharmacy of the future:
- 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 pharmacists and their teams will support people with long-term conditions and their carers by providing a one-stop hub for advice, treatment and coordination of care related to medicines. This will include support following diagnosis, monitoring and adjusting treatment according to outcomes defined in an individual’s care and support plan, and ensuring that all medicine’s related aspects of care are managed safely and efficiently when someone’s circumstances change, for example when admitted to or leaving hospital.
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. 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. Community pharmacists and their teams will work closely with employers to support workplace health initiatives, and will help people make best use of data, technology and devices they use to monitor and manage their own physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Many of these scenarios are already happening in pharmacies across the country, or could be if community pharmacy teams were given the opportunity. 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 domains of activity consistently across England, enabling effective planning and commissioning of person-centred services from the community pharmacy network.
The Forward View represents the sector’s vision for the future of community pharmacy but the views of key stakeholders are now invited- including patient groups, contractors, community pharmacists and members of pharmacy teams, local commissioners, other healthcare providers and the Government. This will help turn a shared vision for the sector into a reality that will be good for patients, the public, local communities and the NHS, as well as for the community pharmacy network and all those who work in it.
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Commenting on the launch, Pharmacy Voice’s Chief Executive Rob Darracott said:
“The Forward View, and the development of three key domains of practice, are our starter-for-ten. They may appear ambitious but all of the proposals are based on innovative work of community pharmacy teams across the country, which is happening right now. We want this best practice to become commonplace across the pharmacy network and we are committed to working with colleagues, partners and our stakeholders make this happen, starting with 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 describes how a thriving pharmacy network could effectively support the high performing, affordable health and care system envisaged in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
The health and care system needs community pharmacy to play its part in improving the care of patients and helping people to stay healthy, so we hope that the Department of Health, NHS England and local service commissioners will positively engage with us to explore how this vision can inform the future commissioning of community pharmacy services.
Community pharmacy contractors need a clear framework for how they are to support patients and the NHS in the future, so they can have confidence in developing their teams, resources and services, and ensure that they are able to provide the most cost effective support to their local communities, using their unique relationships and skills. We hope the NHS and Government will respond positively and will work with us to develop a contractual framework that provides this.”
Sandra Gidley, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board added:
“The RPS English Pharmacy Board supports the PSNC and Pharmacy Voice 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.”