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‘Huge’ announcement imminent on use of pharmacy says NHS boss


3 June 2015

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Speaking at the NHS Confederation annual conference in the ACC Liverpool, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England hinted there will be more involvement of pharmacies in primary care, in the near future.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation annual conference in the ACC Liverpool, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England hinted there will be more involvement of pharmacies in primary care, in the near future.

“We've got to get more serious about multi-disciplinary working in primary care, including pharmacists, and we're going to be saying more about that quite soon.”

Asked about it in the panel discussion after his speech, “You said that we should expect something on pharmacists, is that a big announcement coming in the next couple of days?” Stevens replied: “When it comes, it will be huge!”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society commented: "We have been delighted by the response Simon Stephens and colleagues at NHS England have given to our joint campaign with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to make the most of the expertise and capacity that pharmacists can provide to primary care. We will be working with the profession to make sure we play our part in implementing the vision described in the Five Year Forward View."

As well as integration, he said that to strengthen primary care it has to be more attractive for medical students to become GPs.

“We have oversubscribed GP vocational training in some parts of the country, in other parts of the country, east of England and east Midlands, we have spots going vacant… If we carry on that way we are just going to reproduce what we've seen in the last decade… We've got to do a whole range of things on recruitment, retention and returners in general.”

“There is considerable awareness that [improving primary care] is one of our must-get right things over the next five years.”

 “When times are tight the temptation is to retreat, to think small, to pull up the drawbridge and to focus on 'me' and 'mine' not 'us' and 'ours'. That is ultimately going to destroy the very energy that we're going to need.”

Similarly, earlier at the conference today Rob Webster, chief executive of NHS Confederation, said that he thought integration was “critical”.

He said: “How do we all work together to create a system that will actually achieve what we need for patients? What I see is people criticised in a broken system, people being undermined by the system when they need support. We can't have it anymore.”

Stevens urged NHS leaders to: "Rattle the cage and advocate something different.”

He said: “This is not all about the money. It is all about the kind of healthcare system we want. We need to fundamentally redesign care."

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