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RPS: Hunt wants sustainable practice pharmacist model

Jeremy Hunt spoke to the RPS's Charles Willis at the Conservative party conference last Sunday (October 4)

The society's head of public affairs Charles Willis (pictured right) says Jeremy Hunt is "keen" to hear about new ways to use pharmacists

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt wants plans to employ more pharmacists in GP practices to be sustainable, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.

Mr Hunt was "keen" to learn that the Royal College of General Practitioners wants to put "a pharmacist in every practice", said RPS head of public affairs Charles Willis after meeting the health secretary at the Conservative party conference last Sunday (October 4).

Mr Hunt wanted to hear about the "sustainability" of the NHS England pilot to place 250 pharmacists in GP practices, Mr Willis told C+D.

“We explained that their project was self-funding [because] the pharmacists will release more money than they actually cost,” Mr Willis said.

Mr Hunt "really gets new models of care” and is "fully behind" the RPS's call for pharmacists to be able to amend patient records, Mr Willis said.

"He is keen on IT solutions. He was very happy to talk to us about that and we will be doing more work about that in future," he said.

"Pharmacy-focused agenda"

Mr Willis, a Labour party member, believes that “the government’s agenda is pharmacy-focused” and it has been “very clear that pharmacists have a greater role to play in the health and care system".

“The government is ready to talk with pharmacists and it is open to exploring what else pharmacists can do”, he said.

Mr Willis added that Mr Hunt "clearly has a passion” for improving healthcare and "sees pharmacists as one of the solutions". 

Pharmacy Voice told C+D last week that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was "willing to engage" in conversations about the sector's potential at his party's conference. 


How would you like to see the Conservative government support community pharmacy? 

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Tunde Sokoya, Community pharmacist

We need to embrace the model. It will facilitate communication lines with the GP practices.This might just help get some of the valuable MUR or NMS interventions actioned and noted. On the other hand I can see them eventually becoming overwhelmed with work a bit like the practice nurses. New models of care are the future and its essential we are part of the process so that we help shape it. Some eminent philosopher once defined "insanity as doing the same things and expecting a different response".I think we all realise change is needed its how we make the change a reality we all need to make that change there is no big master plan.Its in our hands.

Ivor Hadenuff, Primary care pharmacist

"Mr Hunt "really gets new models of care”": such as doctors being replaced by computers within the next twenty years? Don't suppose he'll be employing many pharmacists then either

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

If the CCG medicines management team are effective then it is difficult to understand how the pharmacists in individual practice will save even more ? Software solutions are available to monitor drug costs. I have seen lots of evidence of savings. What I have never seen is the costs of chasing these savings. The presentations rely on input from technicians and others. There are costs of establishment, buildings ,taxation, phones etc etc. I have yet to be convinced that the data is rigorously analysed. Words are cheap. The easy savings have been mopped up already. The last 20 % if it exists will be the mostly costly.

Robin Conibere, Pharmacist

Its not all about savings on Drugs budget, can also have an impact on reduced medicines wastage and other aspects of the prescribing process, also the focus of the pilot is not on medicines costs, but providing face to face care to patients. The practice is pharmacist role is not primarily the Medicines Management drug switching role...

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Are you suggesting that face to face care can only happen in a surgery. Hopefully we will all be able to access records. We deal with patients on a daily basis without appointment. Even those who do not see the doctor. Responsible pharmacists in the community would be better tasked to forge good relationships with the GP's . Medicine is not an exact science and I would hope that practice pharmacists take the time to get to know/meet their counterparts. Perhaps more difficult withmultiples/locums etc.

Ivor Hadenuff, Primary care pharmacist

You're right about the big savings having been made. MM teams are having to look more and more closely at prescribing on an individual patient basis - something that is a lot easier when you are based in the practice full time and seeing hundreds of records every month. So it's still possible to continue to make savings. And don't forget that practice based pharmacists will also help to improve the quality of prescribing and thereby of patient outcomes.

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Ok so what about the work done by practice staff in changing medication on price alone ? I can think of two instanced where the local practice changed from branded to generic because of a notional saving. In fact the generic was launched a month later. the change was from brand to branded generic. Lots of effort and time costs but no saving. Also the latest is GP s being told to supply original packs 28 , 30 , 56 because the chemist gets a 10 p container cost ???? My container reimbursement for 4000 items was £96.00. Creates all sorts of problems with synchronisation. The CCg pharmacist was blivious to the argument but then she does not understand the pharmacy contract or the global sum arguments.

Dave Downham, Manager

Do we read anything into Pharmacy Voice going to the Labour conference and the RPS going to Conservative? Did PSNC go to UK and the NPA to the Lib Dems? And what about the Greens? I'm sure all leaders and key individuals were impressed and engaged.

There is one way to save money either let Pharmacists to continue dispensing or dispensing doctors just do it all I never see cost savings from the horses mouthes I wonder why

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