English Pharmacy Board Chair Sandra Gidley spoke alongside pharmacy colleagues from the National Pharmacy Association and the Company Chemists’ Association during a Pharmacy APPG session yesterday on the role of pharmacists in delivering the NHS Long-Term Plan.
The Plan, published in January this year, announced a £20.5 billion budget for the NHS over the next ten years and recognised like never before how pharmacists can help achieve better outcomes for patients.
Speaking to MPs and peers during the session, the panel acknowledged the NHS Long-Term was positive for pharmacists but also called for greater ambition for the role community pharmacists in the reformed NHS. They highlighted the importance of making the most of pharmacists’ expertise to support patients and how pharmacists in the community should be enabled to deliver more clinical services.
There was recognition of the potential of emerging structures such as Primary Care Networks to support a more integrated approach to pharmacy across the health service, but there were also questions about how this will work on the ground and how local pharmacy leaders will be supported.
There were also discussions on the development of new roles for pharmacists, and encouraging the greater use of pharmacy technicians to help free up time for pharmacists to provide more clinical services.
Commenting after the session, Sandra Gidley said;
“The NHS Long-Term Plan is a ground-breaking document for pharmacy but we know there is much further detail needed on how pharmacists in different settings will all be able to support its implementation.
“Pharmacists already play a vital role in medicines safety across care settings. While there are encouraging moves towards supporting earlier detection of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, there must be also be a more ambitious vision in making more of the clinical skills of community pharmacists.
“As we ask pharmacists to do more in a changing NHS, there also needs to be a systematic approach to education and foundation training of the workforce.
“We look forward to future engagement with the Government and NHS England on the Long-Term Plan and what this means for the profession.”