In its response to the Government’s consultation on community pharmacy the RPS has offered proposals emphasising the best contribution that pharmacists can make to NHS efficiencies is to focus the profession’s role in medicines optimisation and prevention of ill health.
The RPS has again outlined that the cut in contractual funding will have a negative impact on patients and the public. We remain very concerned that pharmacists will be forced to reduce the number of people in the workforce to focus only on safe medicines supply. This will reduce the potential for community pharmacists to deliver additional value in the community with a knock on effect of increasing pressure on GPs, A&E and other urgent care services.
We would like assurance from Government that the overarching objective of these reforms centres on improving patient access to high quality care, advice and medicines from pharmacists. If there is a mutual understanding between the profession and Government regarding this underpinning aim we believe there is much we can do to work together.
We are encouraged that the Department of Health and NHS England have engaged with the RPS as the professional leadership body for pharmacists in shaping the future for the pharmacy profession. We hope that this engagement with key stakeholders will continue in future years. However, significant public and patient involvement is needed to ensure services match people’s needs.
The RPS is clear that the proposed integration fund should be used to drive innovation, for example testing out new and different models of care, such as community pharmacists working with GP practices and delivering enhanced care in care homes.
In our response
we have set out eight principles and outline descriptions to drive high quality care from community pharmacists as well as key enablers including support and training for all pharmacists to practice as an independent prescribers.
Commenting on the submission, Sandra Gidley, RPS England Board Chair said:
“The RPS is putting forward new thinking and solutions that match the Government’s objectives for the NHS.
“We are in no doubt that hastily implemented funding cuts to community pharmacy will mean greater costs for the NHS in the long term.
“There is a strategic imperative for the NHS to improve capacity and capability to support older people and those with long term conditions. This coupled with an emphasis on prevention of ill health means we need to invest in community pharmacy, expand roles and enable better care.
“I welcome the invitation of NHS England to co-chair the programme looking at the development of the pharmacists in care homes. This is a key campaign objective of the RPS, we are committed to this project and feel this could be a collaborative model for other service development initiatives.”