On Thursday 28th April the national pharmacy bodies, together with HealthWatch, were gathered together for a one-day workshop with officials from the Department of Health to discuss progress on their proposals to reform community pharmacy, as part of the now extended consultation process on community pharmacy. Reflecting on the meeting, Pharmacy Voice Chief Executive, Professor Rob Darracott, said:
“After a difficult week and a half, culminating in the GP Forward View announcement of dramatically increased funding, seemingly at our expense, it is harder to focus on trying to secure a positive future for the network with harsh funding cuts still planned from October. But the meeting, and the topics discussed, reminded us that we are engaged in a consultation entitled “Community pharmacy: 2016/17 and beyond”. For us in Pharmacy Voice, it is crucial that we are clear where we are trying to get to, in responding to the Government proposals, and that requires us to think several years ahead and break out of the one-year settlement mindset that can often entrap us.
“The announcement of the independent review of community pharmacy services holds some threats to the sector, but the scope should allow a proper consideration of the work going on across the country to improve outcomes for patients. We will certainly do what we can to make sure the review is looking at the right things. However, we firmly believe the sector should decide where we want to be by the end of this spending review period. It must be our ideas that lead thinking on how the Integration Fund could get the greatest impact. We might recognise the need for efficiency and effectiveness but we need to offer our own way forward and not think that the Department of Health and/or NHS England’s proposals represent the only way forward.
“It is timely that immediately following the meeting on 28th April, Pharmacy Voice is putting into motion our thoughts for a “Community Pharmacy Forward View.” We are working principally with PSNC, but also with RPS, local pharmacy leaders, and informed by a range of external perspectives and challenge. We look forward to sharing this view with the sector and beyond very soon.”