Local authorities will need clear information about pharmacy services and evidence that they work if authorities are to commission them in the new NHS, council leaders have said.
At a Pharmacy Voice round table discussion on September 6, local authority workers said they were confused about how they could commission services from pharmacy and how they should link this to pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs).
Others said they would need more data before they could commission public health services. "We need to be able to say if we are going to commission, then you are going to provide," said David Winskill, a councillor for Crouch End in London.
The discussion brought pharmacy and local authority representatives together to talk about how pharmacy could help as local authorities take over health services in the new NHS.
Plans were made to help pharmacists and local authorities locate data that could assist in commissioning decisions, with trade bodies assisting to interpret it.
The plan was one of six action points outlined by Pharmacy Voice chairman Ian Facer. Other points included plans to brief local authorities more about pharmacy practice and to support LPCs to interact with their local authorities. Standardised service specifications and delivery were also needed, Mr Facer said.
Clinical networks due to be formed in the new NHS needed to be robust, and "pharmacy champions" should be identified to help with this, he said. "We are going to have local professional networks [but] where are they going to fit in?" asked NPA chief executive Mike Holden. "We are pushing the message on pharmacy to get its act together and drive [the changes] rather than pull them," he said.
See C+D's guide to the NHS reforms here.