Commenting on the London School of Economics-Lancet Commission on the future of the NHS, RPS President Sandra Gidley said:
“We are pleased to see the Commission agrees with many of our own recommendations on making the most of pharmacist independent prescribers, calling for increased support for professional development, interoperability of care records across all settings, and widening pharmacists’ scope of practice so they can use their skills for the maximum benefit for patients.
“The Commission also highlights the importance of funding education and training to support pharmacists’ enhanced clinical role. We urgently need this investment to become a reality and call on governments across Great Britain to commit to greater funding.
“The Commission rightly acknowledges the expanding role of pharmacists to deliver patient care, for example in helping patients and the NHS get the best value from medicines, supporting GP practices and being a first port of call for minor ailments in the community.
“But it also echoes what we have long been saying that greater change is needed across care settings if we are to help the NHS meet rising demand, speed up diagnosis, and support the growing numbers of people living with long-term conditions.
“I welcome the recognition that, for community pharmacists, reimbursement mechanisms will need to be reviewed to reflect their changing responsibilities.
“Policymakers should reflect on the Commission’s findings on the decline in public health funding, and whether previous attempts at NHS reorganisation have improved integration or shifted off patient care to community settings. With new NHS legislation coming in England this mustn’t be another missed opportunity.
“The report also sadly highlights how England is the only country where patients continue to pay prescription charges. It’s high time the Government scraps this injustice.”