NHS England’s deputy chief pharmaceutical officer is confident that “we will see emerging over the next few years…a sustainable [model of] community pharmacy”, he told delegates of the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham on Monday (October 7).
“Sustainable pharmacies will be the ones that are prepared to change and are proactive in doing so,” he added in his response to a question from the audience, following his presentation on C+D’s Professional Development and Careers Stage.
Dr Warner is “very positive” about the developments within PCNs – groups of local GP practices covering an average of 50,000 people – which he said “do feel very different” to primary care trusts (PCTs) and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
“We have had promises around PCTs and CCGs that pharmacy would play a central part, [but] it never really happened in the way that we would have liked,” Dr Warner said.
“If we can make a go of [PCNs] then sectors of pharmacy – and particularly community pharmacy – will thrive,” he added.
“Don’t be frightened of change”
While NHS England is responsible for “setting the context and parameters” for that to happen, “the sector itself has also got a role to play in making sure it is prepared for those new roles”, Dr Warner said.
“We need a flexible workforce [that] actually understands what it expected of it,” he said.
Community pharmacy must “not be frightened to acknowledge that things are changing” and should understand “what needs to happen to make a success of it”, Dr Warner added.
“I’m really positive about the future of community pharmacy. I don’t think it will look like it has done in the past, but it has a very positive future.
“We need everybody to make this happen. We have got to make a success of this,” he said.