Question 3: What obstacles will pharmacists face in delivering the NMS?
What you said: The Senate survey revealed widespread concerns over implementing the service. Pharmacists cited a lack of time, lack of patient awareness and pressure to hit targets as key obstacles to its success.
What the Senators said: The practicalities of the service sparked debate among the Senators, who foresaw different obstacles for pharmacy teams. Ms Lau argued that pharmacists would need to change their way of working. "There's quite a lot going on and the workload isn't going to lighten," she warned, stressing that pharmacists must use their teams more effectively. "This is the time now for people to start delegating more to their staff, because the value of the team is immense."
And communicating with GPs was a clear priority for other Senators, who believed doctors could promote awareness. "We need to get GPs on board," stressed Mr Vaitha. "That will be a key thing and if you get their backing, then they can send patients your way and it will take some of the pressure off pharmacists." But Mr Michaels worried that GPs wouldn't be "as engaged as we would like them to be".
What the negotiator said: Mr Buxton agreed GPs were integral to the success of the NMS. "GPs absolutely do need to support the service," he told the Senate. "It's important for them to be aware of the service, which is yet another lesson we've learned from MURs. We must communicate with GP practices to ensure this does happen this time, because it didn't always happen with MURs." Mr Buxton added: "We shouldn't underestimate the effect GPs' views could have both in terms of driving people to the service and influencing future negotiations."
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