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Pharmacists ‘must be at heart’ of prevention as Javid ushers in reforms

Pharmacists and other primary care professionals will be central to driving through a "new agenda" prioritising the prevention of ill health, health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Primary care is where the “bulk of prevention already happens”, Mr Javid said, laying out the priorities for his "reform agenda" at the Royal College of Physicians in London yesterday (March 8).

Therefore, pharmacists, GPs and dentists "must be at the heart" of prevention, he stressed.

There is a “sense” that primary care is “far too stretched to be proactive on prevention”, Mr Javid acknowledged.

However, work is underway to understand how the sector can be supported, he suggested, via a review that is currently being led by Claire Fuller, a GP and chief executive of Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership.

“We need a reform that works for populations and the profession alike – because primary care represents one of the very best ways of preventing and managing illness in the community,” Mr Javid added.

During his speech, Mr Javid also set out plans for how the healthcare system can deliver more personalised care and improve its performance.


AIMp: We need to know “what’s expected of us”


Mr Javid concluded his speech by outlining the four principles behind his reforms:

  • services should be “redesigned around the patient by prioritising prevention and personalisation”

  • there should be “clear performance standards and accountability”

  • patients should have access to more choice, power, and technology

  • system leaders and front-line innovators should have more freedom and support.

Pharmacies are “perfectly placed and trained” to deliver on these principles, the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies CEO Leyla Hannbeck told C+D today (March 9).

“It’s an exciting and promising vision and community pharmacies are keen to be part of it. What we require now is the detail, what’s expected of us,” Dr Hannbeck added.

“We hope to be listened to and involved in the very early planning stages, not as in the past – [when we were] just given sparse and ill-thought through orders at the eleventh hour.”


RPS: Pharmacists “crucial” in supporting change


Thorrun Govind, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s chair of the English Pharmacy Board said: “Pharmacists working across the health service will be crucial to supporting the NHS recovery and how we transform services for the future.”

“There is a clear case for pharmacists to help support people living with long-term conditions so that we can manage growing demand on the NHS. This must include fresh thinking regarding service commissioning, including making the most of pharmacist independent prescribers,” Ms Govind added.

But she stressed that any reforms must come with the “right incentives” to encourage collaboration between primary and secondary care providers.

“We also need to see sustained investment in the pharmacy workforce, supporting and upskilling existing staff and ensuring a pipeline of pharmacists for the future, as well as the accelerated roll-out of read-write access to patient records for pharmacists wherever they may work,” Ms Govind said. 

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