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Call to Action responses top 800 in ‘great start’ to consultation

Practice NHS England deputy chief pharmaceutical officer Clare Howard has offered her thanks to everyone who provided the "significant body of responses upon which to develop our strategy”

NHS England has been "overwhelmed" by more than 800 responses it received to the Call to Action consultation on community pharmacy.

NHS England deputy chief pharmaceutical officer Clare Howard thanked everyone who had submitted one of the more than 100 written responses and 700 online responses to the consultation on the future of the sector, which ran between December and March.

Although the consultation was now closed, this was "just the end of the beginning", Ms Howard said on Friday (April 4).

There have been 100 written and 700 online responses to the Call to Action consultation on community pharmacy, says deputy chief pharmaceutical officer Clare Howard

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The submissions would be independently evaluated and reported back to the team working on NHS England's community pharmacy strategy, Ms Howard said. The commissioning body was also working to make sure the strategy "links closely" with its ongoing review of urgent and emergency care, she said.

NHS England was organising 10 patient focus groups over the next few weeks to contribute to the consultation as well as creating patient questionnaires and working with its third sector partners.

"On a personal note, I would like to thank all the area teams, pharmacy organisations and pharmacy teams that got behind the work and gave us your time, energy and enthusiasm to provide us with a significant body of responses upon which to develop our strategy. It's a great start," she added.

NHS England's Call to Action for general practice received 513 responses when it ran between August and November last year. The commissioning body will use the responses to both consultations to inform its strategy for primary care, which is due to be published in the autumn.

Pharmacy Voice and the Pharmacists' Defence Association used their Call to Action responses to call for the government to relax the rules around dispensing, commission a national minor ailments scheme and align the GP and pharmacy contracts. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society suggested that the government support all community pharmacists to become independent prescribers.

Read more coverage of the consultation, including the results of C+D's Twitter debate, here.

Are you encouraged by the number of responses to the Call to Action consultation?
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Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Firstly Clare, it is very nice to be thanked.

The individuals and organisations who responded did so because we do want to see change. We do want to help the NHS and work with it because we all recognise that the funding gap between what we can afford to provide and what we would like to provide is immense.

Community pharmacists are ready for a change. We are ready to meet the challenge and we are ready to work as part of a local integrated health team but with national schemes, not pilots here and there. Let us be bold.

Let us do home medication reviews.
Let us link with practitioners to supply, deliver and explain medication to patients linking in with telemedicine.
Let us run local chronic disease management classes.

But let us do it for a fair return so that we can have two pharmacists for pharmacies dispensing more than 8,000 items a month. Staffing levels are the elephant in the room and Clare I ask you to say "Hey that's an Elephant"!

Let us build on what we have but the pharmacy workforce is at breaking point.

We are disillusioned, drained and dying of exhaustion and stress. A thank you is very nice but don't forget that we need help. Serious help. Please.

Old Timer, Manager

How many Pharmacists on the register now ? 800 seems a very low response to me giving the impression the majority really cant be bothered to express a view.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Not necessarily "old timer". At least we are much better in numbers compared to the GPs. One way of interpreting these lower numbers can be linked to the frustrations people might have had in the past inaction to their various demands and representations. Glass can always be half full or half empty, depends on how you look at it !!!

Old Timer, Manager

I do know of some movers and shakers who sent multiple responses which further dilute the 800 ,but still a better response than the GPs gave .

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