Commenting on the publication of the Fuller Stocktake report, ‘Next steps for integrating primary care’, RPS England Chair Thorrun Govind said: “Today’s report is a significant step on the journey towards integrating primary care and the wider NHS to deliver better care for patients.
“Pharmacists and their teams are ideally placed to support collaboration across the health service, working across traditional boundaries as part of a multidisciplinary team.
“This report highlights some clear opportunities to use pharmacists’ clinical skills to improve patient care and reduce health inequalities, including around access to services, urgent care, medicines optimisation, mental health and earlier diagnosis.
“To maximise the contribution of pharmacy teams, we will need to foster pharmacy leadership at system, place and neighbourhood level to ensure they are involved in decision-making.
“There needs to be a strong voice for primary care and pharmacy within new Integrated Care Systems, supported by new ICS Pharmacy Leads working with pharmacy colleagues across the system.
“This also needs to be supported by investment in education and training, protected learning time, and the long-awaited roll-out of read/write access to patient records.
“A key question is now what the next steps mean for primary care commissioning and local collaboration, and how we can develop a sustainable approach which ensures continued patient access to care.
“The report recognises the positive impact of community pharmacy teams as well as new roles under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, but also highlights key issues we know will help their long-term success.
“Support for the workforce will be crucial throughout all these changes, with teams already feeling stretched and focused on delivering the best care for patients.
“We know staff are at risk of burnout after an exhausting two years of a global pandemic, and the report acknowledges the need to support staff wellbeing and help staff keep looking after patients.
“I welcomed the review team’s constructive and inclusive engagement with the pharmacy profession and hope this continues as we look towards the next steps.”
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