Community Pharmacy Forward View

Sandra Gidley 3By Sandra Gidley, Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board

You may know about the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in 2014, which outlined the future of the NHS in a world where people are living longer with complex health needs.

The Community Pharmacy Forward View, published today, aims to provide a sense of direction and vision for community pharmacy aligned with the ambitions of the NHS.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board supports the Forward View from PSNC and Pharmacy Voice as a way of resetting the debate about the future of community pharmacy.  For many months, pharmacists and their teams have faced uncertainty about the future.  The Community Pharmacy Forward View is designed to provide a sense of direction for community pharmacy, by community pharmacy.  We are committed to making sure the views of patients, the public and RPS members shape these proposals into practical changes that will improve care through making the most of community pharmacists’ skills.

The Forward View outlines three key areas for practice based on the innovative work of pharmacy teams across the country.

Firstly, services that community pharmacy teams currently provide to help people with long term conditions manage their health and get the most from their medicines need to be radically enhanced.  Future services would include support after diagnosis, prescribing a new treatment, medicine review and hospital discharge liaison.

Secondly, pharmacies will become the first place for patients needing non-emergency care through development of systems that enable triage to and referral from community pharmacy.  Access to diagnostic testing will be routinely available, as will facilities to make appointments with other health professionals when needed.  We want the majority of the pharmacists of the future to be able to prescribe and the RPS’s work around changing legislation to enable any practising prescriber to monitor trainee prescribers should help here.

Thirdly, pharmacies will become neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres which provide support and advice on staying well and independent.  Pharmacies should be connected with other organisations such as community groups, charities, social care and welfare services and be able to refer and signpost people to them.

You may have heard these ambitions before and many of these activities are already happening in pockets around the country, but making them happen on a wider scale requires a lot more work.

The Forward View goes some way to showing how pharmacists’ skills could be better utilised but the English Board would want to go much further.  Why shouldn’t pharmacists receive referrals from GPs once patients are diagnosed with a long term condition?  Why aren’t more community pharmacists routinely prescribing independently? Both these areas will be a focus of the English Pharmacy Board’s campaign later this year on supporting people with long term conditions.

An executive summary of the Community Pharmacy Forward View is also available.

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