A London LPC has set out ambitious plans to transform pharmacy in the UK by establishing the sector as the main port of call for patients with long-term conditions.
From June, 60 pharmacies will help patients to produce a self-care plan setting out their health priorities for the year in a pilot unveiled by North East London (NEL) LPC on Wednesday (April 23).
Pharmacists will work through their patients' priorities during regular consultations and act as a "co-ordinator" of the patient's overall healthcare, the LPC said.
Initially, pharmacists will invite patients with diabetes, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and mental health problems to complete a health, wellbeing and social questionnaire.
The model will re-establish pharmacy as a clinical profession, says North East London LPC secretary Hemant Patel
More on long-term conditions
The questionnaire will inform a self-care plan, created by the patient in collaboration with the pharmacist. The pharmacist will constantly review the plan and refer the patient to other healthcare services if necessary, said Hemant Patel, NEL LPC secretary.
The model would re-establish pharmacy as a clinical profession and provide a better working life to pharmacists fed up with dispensing, Mr Patel said.
"I believe that this model, handled with the respect and enthusiasm it requires, has got the potential to change pharmacy not only in this country but everywhere else," he said.
He said that CCGs and local authorities in the area had already voiced their support for the mode and the LPC would provide data on the trial's success. He was hopeful of securing funding for the model before an evaluation meeting in September.
Out of 316 pharmacies in the LPC, around 100 were interested in adopting the model and 60 would begin training this Sunday (April 27) ahead of the June launch, Mr Patel said.
Contractor Prakash Patel of Chapel Pharmacy, Whitechapel, who has signed up to the scheme, said the model was the "way forward" and that he had already started "up-skilling" his pharmacy staff.
He told C+D that the model would allow pharmacists to make more use of their clinical skills and he would employ another pharmacist to take over dispensing to ensure that patients could access the service whenever they needed.
Louise Dibsdall, senior public strategist, public health, London Borough of Havering, told C+D she admired the principles behind the scheme. "Whatever support we can offer we will offer it where we can," she said.
Simon Reid, healthy lifestyles commissioning manager, London Borough of Newham, said he would rather have a small number of pharmacists operating the scheme well than a lot of pharmacies providing an average service.
"I don't need everyone to be entrepreneurs, I just need them to be well spread out," he said.
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