RPS: Integration fund could be 'silver lining' of cuts
English pharmacy board chair Sandra Gidley says the government fund has potential to be good for the sector
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has urged pharmacists to view the government's pharmacy integration fund as a "silver lining" and a chance to shape services they provide in the future.
Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, told C+D that the £300 million fund – which is designed to integrate pharmacy into the NHS and other care settings by 2021 – could be positive for the sector.
The fund was announced by the government on December 17, alongside its plans to cut pharmacy funding by 6%.
"December 17 was a bad day for pharmacy and you’ve got to look for the silver lining,” Ms Gidley said. “It’s up to the RPS to say, 'Here are some things you should be doing’. It isn’t always the DH that has the good ideas.”
“It’s good for people to be given a chance to reshape the profession,” she added. “We are rarely given an opportunity to work jointly with other professions and we should be thinking of [the integration fund] more positively.”
A lack of detail
However, Ms Gidley stressed that the RPS is still concerned that “not that much” of the integration fund would find its way to pharmacy services. “It is hard to progress as we have had no detail and it is very frustrating,” she said.
Earlier this week, the RPS called for the integration fund to be used to enable pharmacists to provide more direct care to patients with stable long-term conditions, as well as making the sector the "first point of contact for urgent care".
Pharmacists should "lead the bids" for the funding, on behalf on multi-disciplinary teams, it added.