Pharmacists and their representatives need to develop a “single voice”, as greater recognition for the sector will not come from “the centre”, APPG chair and Labour MP for Rother Valley Kevin Barron has warned.
Mr Barron was speaking at the parliamentary launch of a new report into the socio-economic impact of community pharmacy – authored by independent think-tank ResPublica and commissioned by the National Pharmacy Association – yesterday (November 20).
ResPublica made three recommendations as part of its report: for pharmacy to have greater representation on local commissioning boards; for the roll-out of a “universal” pharmacy health check, and the development of a quality improvement framework mirroring that of the GP profession (see below).
However, Mr Barron stressed at the event that while he is not “passing the buck”, pharmacists should not “look to politicians” to secure greater recognition from government and commissioners.
“It is down to you as representative bodies of community pharmacy: you get together, you make the argument of what the future of pharmacy is going to look like,” he urged delegates.
“You bring the single case for community pharmacy, whether you are a multiple, or a small chain or a tiny [independent] – bring the case to government…It is not going to happen unless you start it yourself,” he added.
Mr Barron was responding to a question from C+D, who asked speakers how to ensure this latest report does not get ignored like past commissioned reports – such as the pharmacy Call to Action – and whose role it is to put the recommendations into practice.
What happened to the Murray review?
The ResPublica report comes less than a month after England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge confirmed that NHS England will not be publishing a formal response to the ‘Murray’ review – an independent review into pharmacy services published last December.
Chairing yesterday’s event, James Noyes – ResPublica head of policy and author of its pharmacy report – said he “does not understand what has happened to the 'Murray' review”.
“I don’t understand – when there is cross-party consensus – that we are still locking out an existing [healthcare] network in this country,” he added. “Not just locking out that resource, but actually undermining it by reducing its funding and continuing to push it away.”
Mr Noyes suggested that this failure to fully recognise community pharmacy’s potential is “creating unnecessary tension between community pharmacists and their GP cousins”.
Twitter coverage from the event
The question is, what will be decommissioned? Public health services already being slashed - https://t.co/qbdXFyhl7N— Sandra Gidley (@SandraGidley) November 20, 2017
.@NVTweeting says patients see 3 barriers to realising greater role for #pharmacy: 1) lack of confidence in skills & knowledge 2) #pharmacy seen as separate from rest of healthcare system 3) question suitability of #pharmacy premises #PharmacyReport— Grace Lewis (@CandDGrace) November 20, 2017