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Priti Patel: Pharmacies should be used as ‘social prescribing hubs’

The former secretary of state has suggested that pharmacies “utilise their own buildings” to offer a social prescribing service.  

Priti Patel – a self-proclaimed “great believer in social prescribing” - suggested in parliament this week (March 12) that pharmacies could be used to offer a social prescribing service.

Speaking at a Westminster Hall debate on health services in Essex, the Conservative MP for Witham and former home secretary said that politicians “should all collectively look to expand” social prescribing services.

She added that some pharmacies “could even utilise their own buildings as social prescribing hubs”.

Ms Patel also urged the government to “consider empowering pharmacies” by expanding the new Pharmacy First service.

She called on it to consider giving pharmacists “the opportunity to grow that provision around the wider conditions that they can treat”.


Should be “provided by all community pharmacies”


In September, a report commissioned by Community Pharmacy England (CPE) to inform current core contract negotiations said that pharmacies should offer social prescribing services in collaboration with primary care networks (PCNs).

This is one of five extra essential services that the report said should be “provided by all community pharmacies” over the next five years.

At the time, a C+D snapshot poll of 161 pharmacists showed that 39% of respondents thought that five new mandatory services would be “too much” for their pharmacy.

Meanwhile, an Avicenna poll this month revealed that pharmacies in the group are experiencing long Pharmacy First consultations, with less than 40% reaching the gateway criteria for payment.

And last week, the NPA demanded that the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) takes “urgent action” to fix faults in Pharmacy First IT systems.

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