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New high street clinic concept looks 'beyond dispensing'

Hemant Patel: Concept is about how to better use pharmacists’ clinical and public health skills.
Hemant Patel: Concept is about how to better use pharmacists’ clinical and public health skills.

A new concept positioning community pharmacy as "high street clinics" at the heart of the health system has been launched by North East London local pharmaceutical committee.

The high street clinic concept, which centres on moving community pharmacy away from a focus on dispensing and towards improving population health, was unveiled at a North East London local pharmaceutical committee (NEL LPC) event in Ilford, London last night (January 15).

The initiative emphasises the vital role community pharmacy can play in encouraging lifestyle changes to improve patient health, and the importance of working with other healthcare stakeholders to achieve this.

Highlighting a recent and “long overdue” health policy focus on the role local communities can play in bettering their own health, NEL LPC added that this requires “a radical transformation of community services”.

Part of this necessary shift is “breaking down the silos between services and reducing fragmentation in service delivery”, the LPC said.  It added that “community pharmacy and the modern equivalent, the high street clinic, is an important part of the solution”.

Speaking at last night’s event, Hemant Patel, secretary of NEL LPC, said the high street clinic concept is about “the possibilities beyond dispensing and how we can use our other skills: clinical; public health; and our unique and strong links to the communities we serve”.

The high street clinic concept incorporates aspects including “enabling professionals to work together across boundaries”, “empowering people to take control of their own health and care”, and “making community-based care the central focus of the system”.

The concept can, the LPC believes, “help community pharmacy become more of a needed community asset, where transformative community services can be delivered with confidence”.

While stating that it’s not currently possible to put a date on when the first high street clinic will be up and running as it “depends on a lot of things”, Mr Patel said he believes we will see something “very soon” and that “it’s very important that there is a working model that people can come and see and learn from”.

The concept is, he added, about “how we move from where we are, as retailers in people’s minds, to qualified, competent and confident clinicians meeting new challenges”.

What do you think of the high street clinic concept?

D Change, Community pharmacist

What really pissed me off is what they teach at uni versus what the job involves in community. They should outsource this dispensing malarky to robots in a central hub. Do away with all dispensing fees in general and just have pharmacists in store ready to answer queries and be funded for those services instead. Why are we still ticking boxes in 2020. It's ridiculous as to how backwards and useless this is.

C A, Community pharmacist

"Why are we still ticking boxes in 2020?"

1) We can't round Rx numbers to the nearest box - therefore we are stuck with split boxes when prescribers request 'odd' numbers.

2) OP dispensing isn't suitable for every patient - and Hubs can't manage split boxes yet.

3) There are still a lot of acute prescriptions - and patients are accustomed to getting them dispensed immediately.

4) Patients can't remember to order their own medication and a lot of "repeat" prescriptions become "emergency" prescriptions when they realise they only have one day left. 

It's like the system wasn't designed for off-site dispensing. The EPS rollout would have been a perfect opportunity to fix some of these issues, but alas all that happened was that, in the large part it emulated paper prescriptions.


Granted that's not to say things can't change. Scotland seem to have made some progress.

Medicine Master, Primary care pharmacist

How many toes would be trodden on, CP would be on the outside trying to get in while the defenders would forming up the wagon train

There again I forgot London is different isn't it

Dave Downham, Manager

Cannot see 1 "£" sign in this article. Am I missing something or is this another load of uncosted idealism?

R A, Community pharmacist

And here was me thinking bitcoin and cryptocurrency was delusional. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Whatever your stance is on the idea, this has been coming. Automation is going to remove the need for dispensary, and this means we are going to need to look at different models.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Honesty would be nice. Students still being sold pipe dreams right now.

Graham Morris, Design

Any thoughts on transitional payments to this brave new world?

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

It sounds utopian, however how will it be paid for?

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Interesting. Bravo. Pharmacy in a new age has finally arrived.What are the salaries going to like? Just asking for for some undergraduate friends of mine.

Richard MacLeavy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Well the salaries are still based on dispensing of course! In the future this will account for around half of what pharmacies do, so you will be paid half as much. The other part is a series of voluntary excercises to support the wider NHS. The important part is to think about the "possibilities beyond dispensing", running a business and feeding your family. You can also work on “empowering people to take control of their own health and care” for the time when your business collapses altogether and you are no longer there to do it for them. 

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Thanks. I'll pass that on. They'll be thrilled.

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