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NHS England will not publish long-awaited response to 'Murray' review

NHS England will not publish its long-awaited response to the ‘Murray’ review of community pharmacy services, its chief pharmaceutical officer has revealed.

The review, commissioned by England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge and led by the King’s Fund director of policy Richard Murray, was designed to “make the most of the existing clinical services that community pharmacy can provide”.

The review – published in December 2016 – made a number of recommendations, including that "medicines use reviews should evolve into full clinical medication reviews" and that NHS England should “set out” how it plans to expand the commissioning of local pharmacy minor ailments schemes.

As recently as June, Dr Ridge had promised that the commissioner would formally respond to the review “at some point, hopefully in the not-too-distant future”.

But he finally admitted in an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) meeting yesterday (October 30) that “at present there is no need to have a formal response…because we do feel that it’s by and large been taken into account”.

“From NHS England’s point of view, having chats about Richard [Murray’s] review was [an] important contribution and has been taken into account in terms of the Next Steps [on the NHS Five Year Forward View] document.”

Dr Ridge added that the review “makes some really important points about integration with community pharmacy into the NHS”.

“I’m sure it will influence any future discussions with community pharmacy.”

Department of Health head of pharmacy Jeannette Howe told the APPG that the government “hasn’t sat back and waited for a response” to the review.

“NHS England is already actively progressing transformation of pharmacy practice. Using the Pharmacy Integration Fund, proposals were set out in the NHS delivery plan published in March around improving value in outcomes for medicines, and making better use of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.”

“I would expect the 'Murray' review will feed into future discussions around community pharmacy services,” she added.

Dr Ridge declined to answer any questions from C+D after the session.

Read C+D’s full analysis of what was contained in the 'Murray' review here.

Pharmacists’ reaction

The revelation was met with incredulity on Twitter, with some pharmacists likening it to NHS England’s decision to bury the 800 responses to its 2014 Call to Action review of community pharmacy.

What did you make of the Murray report?

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