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ICBs need better pharmacy representation says MP

ICBs need better pharmacy representation says MP
By Joanna Robertson
19 October 2023

Integrated care boards (ICBs) do not have ‘enough’ pharmacy representation, the Health and Social Care Committee chair Steve Brine has said.

The former pharmacy minister and Conservative MP for Winchester also said he felt primary care networks (PCNs) were ‘way too GP dominated’.

Mr Brine was speaking to sister title The Pharmacist following an address at this year’s Pharmacy Show, in which he called for PCNs and ICBs to think ‘a little bit more innovatively and imaginatively than they are’.

‘PCNs way too GP dominated’

Mr Brine suggested he wanted to see pharmacists better integrated within PCNs and ICBs.

He said there were examples of ‘really good practice’ where pharmacists ‘are integrated through the Pharmacy Integration Fund, working in general practice’.

But he warned ‘that’s not the norm, it’s still the exception’. ‘I want to see that everywhere,’ he said.

Mr Brine added that he hoped the ‘promise of PCNs can be realised’.

But he felt that, currently, PCNs are way too ‘GP dominated’ and that there was a lack of pharmacy representation on ICBs.

Too much competition within primary care

Speaking to delegates during a keynote address at the Pharmacy Show on Monday, Mr Brine also said that PCNs needed to ‘start thinking a little bit more innovatively and imaginatively than they are’.

He suggested: ‘If we’re saying that pharmacy is part of primary care, then maybe we should be bold enough to see it as being physically part of primary care.

‘Maybe we should be bold enough to think about ophthalmology, dentistry, primary care, and dental practice and primary care and pharmacy coming together, literally under one roof.

‘Because at the moment, what I see, even with primary care networks – which I created for a reason – I see way too much competition [and] tension between those providers.’

He later clarified that he was not talking about ‘nationalising’ GP practices, adding that his proposal to bring services under one roof ‘won’t be the solution everywhere’ and ‘might not be the solution anywhere’.

‘My point is that primary care networks need to start thinking a little bit more innovatively and imaginatively than they are. And I don’t see that from PCNs. What I see from PCNs and ICBs is thinking way too analogue, thinking way too [much] in their separate work streams,’ Mr Brine said.

Also at The Pharmacy Show, he chief pharmaceutical officer (CPhO) for England, David Webb, said that pharmacists working across community, practices and hospitals are ‘getting much closer’ to the idea of being ‘one workforce’ than has previously been the case.

This article first appeared on sister title The Pharmacist.

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