The Royal Pharmaceutical Society provided a unique opportunity for pharmacists earlier this month by hosting a learning event on pioneering plans to devolve £6bn in the healthcare budget for Greater Manchester.
RPS English Board held its quarterly meeting in Manchester so that board members could find out more about how devolution affects health and social care service delivery and the role of pharmacy. After the meeting an RPS ‘Devolution Manchester’ seminar provided an opportunity for pharmacists to find out about this exciting new model of integrated healthcare and how it can improve services for patients. The model is being closely observed by other areas and could become a blueprint for future service provision.
Around 80 pharmacists attended the event at Manchester University to hear from service directors, NHS clinical leads and local pharmacy bodies about opportunities being presented by ‘Devo Manc’. Through the example of the Manchester model they learned how pharmacists can get involved in helping shape the future of localism and commissioning agendas in the healthcare sector. They also learned about what will be expected from the profession if Devo Manc is replicated in other parts of the country.
Chair of RPS English Pharmacy Board Sandra Gidley said: “The Royal Pharmaceutical Society sees its role as empowering pharmacists locally to ensure they are fully informed about healthcare developments, especially those that offer exciting new opportunities for the profession alongside improved patient care.
“The integration of healthcare services through Devolution Manchester is potentially ground-breaking. What happens here may prove to be so successful in terms of patient treatment outcomes that the model is replicated in other parts of the country. We want to ensure that pharmacists get in on the ground floor and are able to help shape new services. We also want to ensure they are fully informed and equipped to meet any challenges they bring.”
A speaker at the event, Wigan Council’s director of public health Professor Kate Ardern, described how partnership working between the council, the NHS and community pharmacies, through Healthy Living Pharmacies, is already playing a huge role in improving the health and wellbeing of people in Greater Manchester.
She said Wigan Borough now had 70 Healthy Living Pharmacies providing a ‘key resource’ for residents seeking help living healthier lives and managing long term health conditions through providing services such as stop smoking, sexual health advice and support for self-care.
Kate Ardern said: “Improving the public’s health is vital to the success of Greater Manchester’s health and social care devolution programme. We need to put improved health at the core of the services we provide and help empower local people be proactive in keeping themselves well.
“In Wigan Borough we believe that community pharmacies are a key resource for many borough residents, from those who lead an active, working life to individuals suffering from long term conditions, local pharmacies can be a more appropriate and readily accessible place to receive healthcare than a hospital or GP surgery.”
Peter Marks, Chair of Community Pharmacy Greater Manchester (CPGM) said: “CPGM on behalf of the seven Greater Manchester Local Pharmaceutical Committees aims to ensure that the currently underused resource of nearly 700 community pharmacies becomes fully utilised within the devolution agenda and as such becomes an integral part of the delivery of healthcare to the population of Greater Manchester.”
Dr Jane Brown, Chair Greater Manchester Pharmacy Local Professional Network, said: “Devolution is an exciting opportunity for pharmacy across Greater Manchester. The Pharmacy Local Professional Network will be used as a vehicle to enable pharmacy teams across all sectors to work together and with other stakeholders to improve patient outcomes from medicines”.
Notes to editors
Greater Manchester Devolution increases the resources available to Greater Manchester across its full range of strategic priorities, including health and social care, both directly through additional funding and indirectly through greater influence over national and other programmes.
This new deal for the city combines the budget of the NHS with that of social care and moves decisions on spending from national to local structures. The change will impact on how NHS services are delivered locally including pharmacy and hospital care.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is the professional body for pharmacists in Great Britain. We represent all sectors of pharmacy in Great Britain and lead and support the development of the pharmacy profession including the advancement of science, practice, education and knowledge in pharmacy. In addition, we promote the profession’s policies and views to a range of external stakeholders in a number of different forums.