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Aligning contracts a ‘no brainer’, says NHS Alliance

Organisation says linking contracts would allow professions to work together better, but that “vested interests on either side” are standing in the way

Most GPs think it's a "no brainer" to align their contract with pharmacy's, NHS Alliance has said.

NHS Alliance chair and GP Michael Dixon said it made "absolute sense" for the contracts to be linked so that the two professions could work together in an integrated way.

"Anything pharmacists can do for my patients that I can't do or that saves me time is always going to be good, so it's a no brainer," he told C+D at the NHS Alliance conference in London yesterday (November 28).

Mark Robinson, NHS Alliance advisor for pharmacy, said GPs were "very receptive" to the contracts being aligned

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"The only reason why it doesn't happen is because of vested interests on either side of the divide. You need to create a contract that doesn't [have] that conflict of interest."

GPs respected how pharmacists dealt with patients' medicine-related problems "without causing a fuss" and were "very receptive" to the contracts being aligned, agreed Mark Robinson, NHS Alliance advisor for pharmacy, medicines and medicines optimisation.

Two-thirds of pharmacists feel their contract should be more closely aligned with GPs to help take on some of their workload, according to 197 respondents to a C+D poll conducted over the past two weeks. But 34 per cent feel the contracts should be kept separate because the two professions have very different responsibilities.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott agreed that GPs were becoming "more receptive" to having their contract aligned with pharmacy.

"I think, in some parts of the country, those discussions are starting. One of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about is, how fit for purpose are we to respond to those conversations?" he told C+D at the conference.

Last week, pharmacy leaders hailed the publication of a new GP contract as an opportunity for pharmacists to make a "major contribution" to managing long-term conditions and a model to base the pharmacy contract on. Pharmacists could help GPs focus on more personalised care for vulnerable patients with long-term conditions, PSNC said at the time.

Do you think that GP and pharmacy contracts should be more aligned?

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