Commenting on the Government’s plans to offer GPs in England a voluntary contract to provide seven-day-a-week cover for patients, Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board Sandra Gidley said:
“We welcome plans for patients to have the widest possible access to general practice, enjoying the kind of access that community pharmacy has provided for many years.
“Pharmacists are trusted by GPs as having the expertise to make a real difference to patient care and to provide professional support and advice too.
“Providing wider access to general practice will necessitate surgeries developing a broader skill mix within general practice as well as increasing the provision of care through community pharmacy, both of these initiatives are entirely complementary.
“We are currently consulting on how general practice and community pharmacy can provide a more joined up service for people, making the most of the skills of community pharmacists, improving access and patient care. The integration of community pharmacy and general practice is going to be an essential way of providing additional capacity in primary care that allows a seven day service for patients.
“The future of primary care must involve a wide range of professionals in order to deliver the access required and pharmacists are centre-stage here already.
“This is further evidenced by NHS England’s £15million investment
in a series of three-year pilot sites to fund, recruit and employ clinical pharmacists in GP surgeries across England which is already in train and will start in 2016."