The independent report, commissioned by NHS England, outlines a number of recommendations which would help to facilitate greater involvement of community pharmacy teams in delivering integrated clinical and public health services. Pharmacy Voice now calls for the Government, NHS England and other key stakeholders to work with the sector to outline how these will be refined and implemented, as part of a more ambitious programme of work to realise the vision set out in the Community Pharmacy Forward View.
Some key elements of the report include recommendations that:
- Full use is made of the electronic repeat dispensing service, as the default for repeat prescribing
- Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) are redesigned to ensure they are integral part of care pathway for patients managing long term conditions
- NHS England quickly sets out how it intends to deliver on its commitment that minor ailment schemes should be commissioned across England by April 2018
- Digital maturity and connectivity across the sector should be improved to facilitate effective communications between community pharmacy and other healthcare teams
- The resources of the NHS England Vanguard programme should be used, alongside the Pharmacy Integration Fund, to support the involvement of community pharmacists in the development and testing of new care models
The report’s overarching, and welcome, conclusion is that community pharmacy has the potential to help meet both the short term and long term challenge to provide better outcomes as part of wider integrated services that are efficient and that work for patients, but that realising this potential requires system-wide change within the right policy framework.
Speaking on behalf of Pharmacy Voice, Rob Darracott remarked:
“I welcome the publication of this much anticipated review. While we will need time to fully explore the details and implications of this new report and, in particular the evidence review itself, Richard Murray and his review team should be congratulated for developing a focussed set of conclusions in a relatively short period of time. I am pleased to see so many elements of the Community Pharmacy Forward View reflected in Richard’s recommendations, although there are areas where we would have liked these to go further to match the sector’s own ambitions. Some of the recommendations will need further reflection, to understand how NHS England would look to implement them on a practical basis, and how potential unintended consequences would be avoided.
“The sector has long been calling for an expanded role in the delivery of clinical and public health services to the communities we serve and this report helps to reinforce that this is the right direction of travel. It’s great to see NHS England receive a nudge to get the New Care Models team thinking about integrating community pharmacy, and for local stakeholders to be encouraged to consider how they genuinely involve community pharmacy leaders in STPs.
“The positive tone in this document is in stark contrast to the retrograde steps taken by the Department when it chose to reduce the NHS funding for community pharmacy services without a clear plan on how the network would adapt. I trust the publication of this report can mark the beginning of a new relationship between Government and the sector as we both focus our efforts on delivering the best possible outcomes for patients.
“There is still a significant job to do to ensure that the good ideas within it, as well as those that go further within our own Community Pharmacy Forward View, are fully realised. Richard Murray clearly recognises the role that trade sector associations can play in supporting front line community pharmacy teams in doing different and better things. We call on the Minister and NHS England, as they respond to this independent review, to match the ambition of the sector to transform both the role of community pharmacy and the effectiveness and efficiency of the wider primary care system in this country. We’ve been calling throughout 2016 for a new dynamic partnership to kick things off. This is definitely a report on which that partnership can be built”.