New NHS Alliance has called for community pharmacists to play a greater roll in multidisciplinary teams in general practice.
In a report, Supporting the Development of Community Pharmacy Practice within Primary Care, says that community pharmacy in England, at 11,700 pharmacies, is a strong influence on health in society.
Despite NHS plans to take action on four fronts, New NHS Alliance pharmacy lead, Mark Robinson, says: “There is no community pharmacy led vanguard or PM challenge fund programs.”
In the past, Simon Stevens has called for action on tackling the root causes of ill health, giving patients more control over their own care, changing to meet the needs of an aging population and delivering new models of care.
The paper recommends that NHS England commission a community pharmacy-led new model of care, looking to use pharmacists’ expertise in communities.
The report says directors of public health, clinical commissioning group (CCG) leads, GPs and community pharmacy representatives should create a local plan to support community pharmacies in delivering a consistent public health message and associated services to their catchment population.
Furthermore, the report says that GPs must support community pharmacy as the ﬁrst point of call for patients with acute self-limiting conditions and minor ailments.
Acknowledging the increasing GP workload, the report says involving community pharmacists in skill mixed practices could help.
The report says: “Demand is increasing and unless there is a mechanism to control and reduce demand the progress made within the General Practice Forward View may seem a mere sticking plaster.”
It adds that GPs “should focus their attention” on patients that require their level of expertise.
“Any patient that could be adequately managed by the community pharmacist should be referred there to reduce practice workload and encourage positive patient behaviours towards self-care and management,” the report says.
Dr Mark Spencer, co-chair of New NHS Alliance said: “New NHS Alliance is disappointed that there is not a community pharmacy led new model of care and that the NHS has failed to fully utilise the expertise of the community pharmacist within their locations in the heart of many communities.
“We must recognise community pharmacy as a professional clinical retail healthcare environment and as an integral member of the primary care team.
“We must also recognise the pharmacy’s unique position within the community and their ability to reduce demand within general practice as part of the solution to the crisis within general practice.
"The NHS Alliance would therefore like to bring a balance to the discussion about the future development of pharmacy services by emphasizing how high street pharmacy provision can enhance patient care within a multi-facetted integrated model.”