Responding to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement about priorities for the NHS in England, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England Ms Thorrun Govind said:
“Pharmacists are the experts in medicines and it’s great to see plans to make the most of pharmacists’ clinical knowledge to improve access to contraception.
"As we look beyond the pandemic and amid constrained public finances, it will be crucial to draw on all our health professions to support the NHS recovery and tackle the COVID backlog.
“To ensure patients get the most out of the NHS it’s important they receive care in the right place. A ‘Pharmacy First’ approach in England, where people can go directly to a community pharmacy to treat a minor health problem, would improve access by patients to the care they need and better manage demand right across primary care services.
"Pharmacists will be central to reducing health inequalities, managing the growing cost of long-term conditions and delivering best value from medicines for patients and the taxpayer.
“However, like the rest of the NHS, pharmacists are under significant pressure and need to be properly resourced to carry out these additional services.
“If we are to make the most of the next generation of pharmacist independent prescribers, we must see a more ambitious approach to advancing the clinical role of pharmacists across the NHS.
“This must all be supported by a comprehensive workforce plan, backed by investment in pharmacy education and training.”