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Brine: Pharmacy must 'grasp' GP integration opportunities

Steve Brine: Integration does not mean taking pharmacists and technicians out of the community
Steve Brine: Integration does not mean taking pharmacists and technicians out of the community

Community pharmacy must take advantage of the opportunities to further integrate with GPs, pharmacy minister Steve Brine has said.

Referring to the £4.5 billion GP contract announced in January, Mr Brine said “it's important that community pharmacy grasps the opportunities afforded”.

As part of the contract, NHS England opened up “thousands of opportunities” for pharmacists to support GPs in practices.

Mr Brine said: “NHS England has made it known that it expects community pharmacy to be involved and consulted on those arrangements.”

“I would encourage you all to play your part to work locally with primary care providers to think radically about how services can be reassigned to make the most of the resources we have in the community,” he said in a video shown to delegates at the Sigma conference in Muscat, Oman on Sunday (February 17).

Greater integration does not mean “taking pharmacists and pharmacy technicians out of community pharmacy”, Mr Brine insisted.

“It's about working in partnership – making best use of everyone's skills and assets,” he added.

“I recognise it's a challenging time for some, and I am open to suggestions about anything I can do nationally to facilitate the smooth integration of the sector into the wider NHS.”

Pharmacy contract to include services related to GPs

In the next pharmacy funding settlement for England – for which negotiations will “begin shortly”, Mr Brine said – the government will seek to include services “complementary” to those in the GP contract.

“I commit to continuing to ensure that the Pharmacy Integration Fund is used to support community pharmacy in demonstrating what more it can offer,” he added.

“It’s not all about new services of course. It’s [also] about maximising existing provision.”

Watch the video in full below.

Follow @CandDThomas on Twitter to catch up with all the latest coverage from the Sigma conference in Muscat.

What do you make of Steve Brine's comments?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

The problem being, once the money is in the back pocket of the GPs they aren't going to pass any on to Community Pharmacy, no matter how "overworked" they are on the golf course

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Its all about the money, money......

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