PSNC: Emergency supply audit set to show 'positive impact'
PSNC believes pending results of the national audit will demonstrate that pharmacy keeps patients away from GP surgeries and out-of-hours services
This year's national audit is likely to demonstrate that pharmacists keep patients away from GP surgeries and out-of-hours services by making emergency supplies, PSNC has said.
Although the results of the 2014-15 clinical audit are yet to be published by NHS England, the negotiator predicted they would demonstrate the " positive impact” of the pharmacy service when announcing the 2015-16 funding settlement last Monday (July 20).
The results of the audit could also show that pharmacy relieves pressures elsewhere in the health service, PSNC said.
In March, PSNC head of NHS services Alastair Buxton said the audit, which involved pharmacies collecting data to show how their provision of emergency supplies changed during weekends and bank holidays, could "make the case" for the commissioning of an emergency supply service.
A BMJ study published on July 10 added weight to the case for a national service. It found that emergency supplies from community pharmacists could “aid adherence”.
The study found that, in 22 pharmacies over two four-week periods, 526 medicines were requested by 450 patients. Requests for medicines peaked over bank holidays and around weekends, but a “significant amount” of medicines were also requested during practice opening hours.
The authors recommended that a “formally structured and funded NHS emergency supply service” should be introduced with feedback to GPs so patients could be “better served”.
Reducing the burden
English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley said pharmacists were “often forced to muddle through” in the absence of a national service. Out of GP hours, patients often had to ring NHS 111 for a doctor to fax a prescription to a pharmacy, she said.
"It would be much better for patients, as well as less of a burden on the out-of-hours system, if pharmacists could deal with the situations and be paid appropriately,” Ms Gidley said. “There are already good local example of where this happens but a national, easy-to-understand scheme would benefit patients, pharmacists and physicians.”
Amanda Smith, manager of Heath Pharmacy in Huddersfield, said a national service would be “more consistent”. A lack of formal arrangements sometimes made it “awkward" for locums who weren’t familiar with the pharmacy or the patients, she said.