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APPG sets out demands for next government

APPG chair Kevin Barron MP: “Massive amount” that pharmacy can do to take pressure off the NHS

The new government must commission national pharmacy services and broaden scope of MURs by August, says the all-party pharmacy group chair Kevin Barron

The all-party pharmacy group (APPG) has called on the next government to commission two national pharmacy services within its first 100 days in power.

The government elected in May must commission pharmacies across England to provide minor ailments and flu jab schemes by August, the APPG said in a manifesto for politicians published today (March 9).

The parliamentary group also recommended broadening the scope of MURs and the new medicine service to reach more patients with long-term conditions.

To support these plans, the government would need to agree “outcome-based funding” for the sector that both protected the core dispensing service and provided incentives for pharmacists to deliver new services on a “sustainable, long-term basis”, the APPG stressed.

The group also called for a more consistent approach to local commissioning of pharmacy services. Templates for smoking cessation, weight management, alcohol and sexual health services should be developed to help commissioners meet the needs of their populations, it said. 

The APPG recommended an analysis of the “level and quality” of engagement between pharmacists and local commissioners, which would ensure pharmacists’ expertise was being used to help reach decisions across the country.

APPG chair Kevin Barron MP told C+D that the new government should put “enormous pressure” on NHS England to make better use of pharmacy services.

The APPG also urged the government to commit to the following goals to help pharmacy reach its potential:

  • Giving all pharmacies read-only access to patient records by April 2016, and read-write access by April 2017
  • Decriminalising dispensing errors by April 2016
  • Launching a “scoping exercise” into the benefits of a national scheme for community pharmacists to create care plans for hospital discharge patients. A decision on rolling out the service should be made by April 2016
  • Establishing a system to monitor medicines in the supply chain and publishing new guidance for manufacturers on setting quotas to curb stock shortages

Click here to read the full manifesto.


What do you make of the APPG's demands?

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Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

All this had also been put forward in the Call to Action document. How about the parties actually read what was requested? It's amazing how the same things keep getting asked, responses are gathered and nothing materialises. It would be good to get some actual outcomes-based polling on the parties from pharmacists!

GURNAM SINGH, Community pharmacist

In theory, this is great, however, with the already high public debt burden I cannot see a lot materialising unless we see some privatisation (which is not what anyone wants to hear).

Nick Hunter, Community pharmacist

I agree, Mike. There is a lot pharmacists can do with "high risk" patients too - such as those who are house bound and dealing with poly pharmacy issues. Pill burden is a massive issue and frequently the cause of significant waste - the most expensive medicine is the one the patient doesn't take.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Optimisation is something I see on a regular basis during my locums. Starting with Repeat Dispensing on ETP, dispensing up to a month at a time only unless exceptional circumstances such as holidays, and a more robust intervention system as a start would see some major improvements in my opinion.

Michael Holden, Community pharmacist

Welcome the call for a national common ailments service and flu vaccination plus a broadening of MURs/NMS to other patients (should include children with consent/involvement of parent/carer) - suggest this should be an Essential service not Advanced (core role?), perhaps as part of a pharmaceutical care (medicines optimisation) service rather than splitting supply and adherence support?

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