Now or Never: Shaping pharmacy for the future highlights that people across England should expect pharmacists to offer far more than just medicines.
Read our executive summary or full report to find out more about the vision of pharmacy in the future and how we can get there. You might also find our leaflet on better patient care through pharmacy useful.
Watch our videos to find out more about issues raised in the Now More Than Ever report
Key points of the report
- Pharmacists must provide direct patient care in the location that is most convenient for the patient
- 58% of those over 60 suffer from at least one long-term condition (LTC). LTCs risk being unmanageable without a significant change to the way care is provided - pharmacists can be integral to this change
- The NHS needs to make the most of the third largest health profession. Numbers of pharmacists continue to increase as numbers of GPs and nurses decreases
- Urgent care is under significant pressure. Community pharmacists could provide an alternative triage point for many of the common ailments currently dealt with by out-of-hours services and Accident and Emergency departments.
Vision for the future
Pharmacists must become more visible, providing pro-active patient care in the location that is most convenient for the patient.
Medicines must still be supplied from pharmacies but to enable pharmacists to take on new roles in patient services, especially in community or 'high street'pharmacies, pharmacists should delegate the technical function of dispensing to specially trained pharmacy staff.
The technical dispensing of the medicine can be done by other trained members of the pharmacy team, and where skill mix is used effectively alongside technical innovation, this has the potential to release pharmacists' time to provide other services.
An increase in pharmacists capacity to provide other services focused on patient care would include care of people with long-term conditions, the management of medicines for people taking multiple drugs, the provision of advice for minor ailments, and the delivery of public health services.
I am a pharmacist
If you are a pharmacist and would like to know what the report means for you and your profession, watch our video with English Pharmacy Board chair, David Branford to find out more »
I am a healthcare professional or part of
the wider NHS
If you are a health professional and would like to find out more about how the report will impact upon your practice, watch our video to find out what you can do »
What others are saying about the report
NHS England’s most senior doctors today welcomed the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s “Future Models of Care” report, setting out the much wider role pharmacists can and should play in treating and advising patients.
National Medical Director Professor of NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, said: "I welcome this timely report and fully recognise the important contribution that pharmacists and their teams across the country make every day to caring for patients."
Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, Chair of the House of Commons Health Committee says: "I warmly welcome this report from the RPS Commission on Future Models of Care. As often happens, the report’s argument is crystallized in a single sentence: Pharmacists need to become first and foremost providers of patient care, rather than dispensers and suppliers of medicine."
"This report gives the Royal College of General Practioners (RCGP) excellent scope to build on the constructive partnership that we already enjoy with the RPS. We look forward to working with our pharmacist colleagues in rolling out the recommendations for the benefit of our patients and the wider NHS."
Royal College of Physicians (RCP) president, Sir Richard Thompson says: "I welcome the publication of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society report, ‘Now or Never, shaping pharmacy for the future’. We agree with the RPS that there is a greater need for joint working of professions, including pharmacists in multidisciplinary teams, in order to widen the provision of care for people in hospital and the community."
The Pharmacy Schools Council (PhSC) welcomes the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Commission’s report, Now or Never: shaping pharmacy for the future, on future models of care delivered through pharmacy. It fully supports the creation of a Leadership Forum and looks forward to a central role on this.
Simon Selo, Head of English Regions at Asthma UK says: "We welcome this far-reaching report which clearly sets out the challenges facing the pharmacy profession, which despite these hurdles, is an undervalued resource which has a huge amount to offer people with asthma, not least in its accessibility and understanding of asthma medicines."
Simon O’Neill, Director of Health and Professional Liaison at Diabetes UK, says
"The findings of the Commission have the potential to make a real difference to people living with long term conditions, not only directly through better access to medication, but also more generically by enabling pharmacists to become more active members of the multi-disciplinary team - to make them care givers rather than just medicine givers."
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation welcomes this report and the commitment to pharmacists working in partnership and using their professional expertise to enable to people to stay healthy and get the best from their medicines. There is an urgent need to improve medicine review and oversight for vulnerable people, including people with learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges services.
One year on
Read Now more than ever, the Nuffield Trust's review of progress following the Now or Never report one year on »
What can I do?
- Help us by sending in your ideas, comments and examples of good practice
- Be inspired by models of care in action
- Watch our videos with English Pharmacy Board chair, David Branford, and find out what the report means for you
- Learn more about the top priorities of the RPS following the report's publications.