The Quality Payments Scheme – introduced alongside the pharmacy funding cuts in December 2016 – is helping “the profession take small progressive steps on the journey of improvement”, Boots pharmacy director Richard Bradley told C+D at the Pharmacy Show earlier this month (October 8).
With around 25,000 dementia friends at the multiple, a growing number of asthma referrals, more pharmacists accessing the summary care record, increasing numbers of healthy living champions, and an increased focus on patient safety, Boots is “already seeing quality payments make a difference”, Mr Bradley explained.
“We're seeing that in the feedback from patients,” and in the “change and development of our people”, Mr Bradley added.
“As a profession we have done a really good job of getting to grips with the changes fairly quickly,” he said. “[I want to say] a big thank you to the Boots pharmacists who have engaged brilliantly.”
Earlier this month, NHS England confirmed that since April, 10,985 pharmacies across England received a total of £31 million under the Quality Payments Scheme. England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge “welcomed the excellent response” from community pharmacists for “mak[ing] the most of their valuable clinical skills”.
“Responsibility” to patients and employees
As the “biggest community pharmacy” business, Boots has a “responsibility” to help create a sustainable future for the sector, Mr Bradley said.
Mr Bradley – who was appointed pharmacy director at Boots in September 2016 – is feeling “the right amount of pressure” to help Boots pharmacy teams adapt to the challenges.
“After being a successful company for 168 years, you do feel a responsibility to make sure that success continues both for our patients and our people,” he told C+D following his Pharmacy Show session entitled ‘time for change’.
Benefitting the whole profession
Boots has “a good history of innovation that has benefitted the whole profession”, Mr Bradley added, referencing the sore throat testing scheme, which is currently being piloted across the UK, and a mole-scanning service, which the multiple rolled out this year.
Boots is also continuing to collaborate with Lloydspharmacy, Rowlands and Well on the Community Pharmacy Future project, which aims to develop services that will “hopefully get fed into the next round” of national commissioning, Mr Bradley said.
“As we’re seeing the future of the NHS evolve, it is clear the solution will be provided at a local level,” he explained.
For Boots specifically, Mr Bradley said “it is about giving our people the confidence and the tools to investigate locally and to build relationships locally”.
As pharmacy’s role in the wider NHS develops, it is important the whole profession “knows where we are going” and that “the time to deliver [services] and the funding behind them is clearly matched to the workload involved”, he added.
Following his session at the Pharmacy Show, Mr Bradley also told C+D that Boots is "looking forward" to discussing supervision of pharmacies in a "responsible way".