Contractor and Thames Valley LPN chair Graham Jones wants to see pharmacists delivering a wider range of services while maintaining quality
I hope that pharmacy will take on a greater clinical role to deliver a broader range of public health services. While there is a steady movement in that direction, the big hurdles we face are convincing commissioners what pharmacy can deliver and making sure we do deliver. A number of pharmacists are still wedded to the notion that they are there purely to dispense but we need to move on to a much broader agenda, which is about managing people's wellness and illness.
Another hope is for pharmacists to keep delivering high quality services despite having to deal with the financial squeeze on healthcare. I see huge potential for pharmacy, both as a pharmacist and having chaired a health and wellbeing board.
I also believe LPNs can encourage pharmacy's potential by, for example, better integration within the profession and across the whole health network. More work could be done regarding the relationship between community and hospital pharmacy. Hospital pharmacists spend lot of time assessing people's medication, so there needs to be closer working relationships with community pharmacy to support their care.
Funding always remains a fear for pharmacists. It's about ensuring you've got the capacity to deliver the government's health agenda and to do that rapidly. I believe the whole model of pharmacy will change dramatically within the next five to 10 years and the profession will have to be much more service-based, more focused on local priorities, and will need to play a larger role in healthcare. But to achieve this there's a big capacity issue that pharmacy will need to face, as we currently don't currently have the infrastructure to do this either at individual pharmacy level or across the profession.
We've got to redesign how to organise ourselves both within the pharmacy and also at a national and regional basis, for example re-examining how LPCs operate and whether we should be looking at working with people across bigger areas while still looking at local priorities.
Next year I want to have produced a business plan. I've half way through that process but, like many independent pharmacists, I'm so busy doing my day job I don't have time to sit down and do strategic planning. But if you don't set those strategic milestones you won't know whether you're achieving your potential or not.
I also hope to work with colleagues in pharmacy to help them understand the health and wellbeing agenda and how local government works, as they will be a big commissioner of pharmacies in the future – and I've knowledge to share.
Graham Jones is a pharmacy contractor and chairman of Thames Valley LPN
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