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C+D Snapshot: Do pharmacists think five extra essential services are feasible?

Almost half of pharmacists polled said they could only offer five new mandatory services if they were paid enough, while around four in ten said it would be “too much”.

A C+D snapshot poll conducted last week has shown that community pharmacists are split on the feasibility of offering the mandatory services proposed in the recent King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust pharmacy vision report.

The report, commissioned by Community Pharmacy England (CPE) to inform upcoming negotiations, proposed that community pharmacies should be commissioned to deliver five more essential services within the next five years.

Read more: Pharmacies should deliver five more mandatory services, report finds

On Friday (September 29), C+D’s latest snapshot poll closed, with 161 community pharmacists offering their views on whether it was “feasible” for their pharmacy to offer five more mandatory services.

The poll showed that 45% of respondents could only take on the five mandatory services proposed in the vision document “if the money is good”.

Read more: Allow dispensing ‘without pharmacist on site’, says CPE-commissioned report

However, 39% of respondents said that five new mandatory services would be “too much” for their pharmacy.

Meanwhile, just 10% of respondents said that this would be “feasible” and that they were “keen” to offer more clinical services, while 6% said that they offer some of the proposed mandatory services already on a voluntary basis.

 

Staffing, workload and premises concerns

 

Commenting on the poll, pharmacist Antonio Cabrera Garcia-Solalinde said that whether the NHS would also “make compulsory” a minimum staff level and skill mix to allow pharmacies to provide the services safely is key to their feasibility.

He said without this, the proposed changes would “be like any other services”, which entail “more workload” for pharmacists.

Read more: Is it just me or is this new vision document slightly blurry?

Pharmacist Lee Broadbent said that an “uplift in funding” is needed before any new mandatory services are introduced to get pharmacy staff numbers at an appropriate level and to make staff feel “more valued than a shop assistant”.

“Once that’s in place then throw as many services [as you want] our way and watch us thrive,” he added.

Read more: CPE ‘hopes to have concluded’ £645m funding negotiations by November

Meanwhile, pharmacist independent prescriber Emma Anderson said that her pharmacy was already offering all but one of the proposed mandatory services, however, she said that space in the pharmacy’s consultation room was currently at “a bit of a premium”.

She added that the pharmacy would need “good funding” to install a second consultation room needed for the proposals.

Read more: How much could pharmacies earn from an hour of advanced services a day?

The pharmacy vision report, published last month, said that pharmacies should be commissioned to deliver five more mandatory services including:

  • Enhanced Healthy Living Pharmacy activities including social prescribing, in collaboration with primary care networks (PCNs) 
  • The community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) including walk-ins 
  • A common conditions service 
  • A new medicine service 
  • Deprescribing and amendment of prescriptions

It made a variety of other wide-ranging strategic proposals, including a push for allowing medicines to be dispensed without a pharmacist present.

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