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LPC leaders: Call to Action was a wasted effort

Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster LPC chief executive Rekha Shah says pharmacists put lots of effort into the consultation for little reward

LPC leaders - including Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster chief Rekha Shah - have slammed NHS England after the commissioning body revealed the outcome of its consultation

LPC leaders have slammed NHS England for wasting their time, after the commissioning body revealed it had already published the results of its Call to Action consultation for pharmacy in a document that barely mentions the sector.


The commissioning body promised in March to publish its "strategic primary care commissioning framework" in the autumn. This would take account of the responses to its Call to Action consultations for pharmacy, general practice, dentistry and optometry that took place this year, it said at the time.


But NHS England told C+D last week that "everything" about its primary care strategy had already been included in its Five Year Forward View document, published in October, which does not mention any of the consultations and only refers specifically to pharmacy four times (see below). 


Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster LPC chief executive Rehka Shah said many pharmacists had gone "out on a limb" to respond to the Call to Action, and put in an "exorbitant amount of work" in the hope the consultation might influence pharmacy's future.


Ms Shah was "horrified" to discover that the Five Year Forward View contained NHS England's entire strategy, and said the commissioning body had ignored the detail many pharmacists had included in their responses.

"If we'd known then that they weren't going to look at the nitty gritty of the responses they got, we wouldn't have made such an effort," she told C+D on Tuesday.


Kent LPC chief executive Mike Keen echoed her disappointment and expressed concern with NHS England's lack of communication with pharmacists. But he said he was not surprised by the situation, given the commissioning body's financial struggles.


"NHS England is being thinned down dramatically. Therefore if anything is to happen as a result of the Call to Action, it's going to have to come from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)," he told C+D.


Camden and Islington LPC chief executive Yogendra Parmar said pharmacists' consultation responses had not been taken into consideration, and urged them to turn their focus onto local commissioners.


NHS England's Five Year Forward View: 4 mentions of pharmacy

1. NHS England will build the public's understanding that pharmacies can help them deal with minor ailments without the need for a GP appointment or A&E visit

2. NHS England will allow for the creation of multispeciality community providers – expanded GP practices that will employ a range of professions, including community pharmacists

3. Community pharmacies could help patients to get "the right care at the right time"

4. To achieve this, NHS England will organise emergency care networks to make "far greater use" of pharmacists Source: NHS England Five Year Forward View


Local focus 'more fruitful'

"Focus on CCGs, local authorities and the voluntary sector. Anyone looking for services will find that more fruitful than devoting time and resources to influence NHS England," he told C+D.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said NHS England still needed to clarify whether the Five Year Forward View had taken account of the responses to the consultations on the four primary care professions.


The document called for pharmacists to form large-scale primary care practices with GPs and other healthcare professionals, and Mr Darracott said there was "work to be done locally" to see how the sector could engage with this model.


In April, NHS England said it had been "overwhelmed" by more than 800 responses to the Call to Action consultation for community pharmacy.


Clare Howard, NHS England's deputy chief pharmaceutical officer at the time, said pharmacists' submissions would be independently evaluated and reported back to the team working on the body's community pharmacy strategy.  


Read C+D reporter Samuel Horti's blog on NHS England's underwhelming response to pharmacy's Call to Action submisisons.

Do you feel like you wasted your time responding to the Call to Action?
We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

Hackney Drug Dealer, Community pharmacist

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

reminds me of an episode of only fools and horses where del boy says to rodney:

Blimey a Millfall fan could have told you that

Mike Bereza, Community pharmacist

Well done to Rekha Shah for standing up, keep it up.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

This once again shows, the NHSE is not interested in Pharmacy. This is a classic example of how Pharmacy is being treated by NHSE & DoH, i.e. ""you do something we ask for we don't care and if you don't do what we ask for then definitely we don't care meaning we give a damn for what you think or want, we will do what we want""

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

Why should they care?
They don't owe us anything.
Its up to us as a profession & individually to show the powers that be that we can help solve a lot of the problems of the NHS in a cost effective way.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Not really, its upto NHS England to have the vision, knowledge and understanding to identify how savings can be made in the NHS by effectively utilising pharmacists skills without compromising patient care. After all, that is why senior NHS managers are paid their £100k+ salaries with copper-bottomed pensions.

Personally, I am too busy overseeing a busy pharmacy 40 hours a week to gather and present evidence of pharmacies benefit in communities to NHS commisioners, councillors and MPs and I am sure that I am not the only one.

Time and time again pharmacy is ignored by the NHS, I don't think individual pharmacists should take the burden of blame. There are potentially huge savings to be made by using our skills but clearly NHS commissioners lack vision and understanding or maybe the political will.

Robert Rees, Manager

But they don't have the vision, knowledge or understanding! You can leave it to someone else who does have the knowledge, ie a hard working pharmacist at the coal face, who's very busy, but who is actually prepared to step up. (40hrs? really? Work an extra 1 hour per week to write a letter to someone who makes decisions) How can you complain about pharmacy being ignored when its people like you who aren't saying anything. They aren't ignoring you, its just they aren't hearing you. How can that be improved? Do something. Say something, but stop moaning.

PS. I suspect that to most of the senior pen pushers and desk pilots at the DH and in Govt., NHS staff as ever remain "our hardworking doctors and nurses"

i think that the C&D should interview NHS Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Keith Ridge to determine what he had done and what he will be doing as a consequence of this

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

A good GP support pharmacist friend encouraged me to attend one of these consultation events and she went and said it was very good. I thought the better of it and just went home to be honest and seems like that I made the right decision to do that. As a former local council politician, as a councillor we used to have these 'consultation' events, but as a councillor I knew full well the executive already made its decision anyway. Politics, smoke and mirrors I am afraid.

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

I agree. Taking part in these consultations maybe a waste of time because the decisions have already been made. We need to engage earlier. We need to influence the decision makers, not just when asked but all of the time. How many pharmacists have spoken to their local MP's, councillors, etc and explained that pharmacy is the answer to the problems of the NHS.
Give them solutions, offer them savings and they will (eventually) listen.

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

and here's an example

A service which relieves pressure on A&E and GP's, is less expensive , but with the same positive patient outcomes.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I'm glad I didn't waste my time replying to the Call To Action, although I remember at the time all the so-called pharmacy leaders and bigwigs were telling us that it was imperative we made our views known! What a total and utter waste of time. If the NHS wants something from pharmacy then they will come to us, otherwise they are not interested.

Sohaib Ashraf, Community pharmacist

I agree, Chris, that it was a waste of time but I also feel that we are doing ourselves a disservice if we feel sorry for ourselves and cocooning ourselves (i.e waiting for them to come to us).

Gursaran Matharu, Community pharmacist

At the beginning the CTA was being promised as an unique opportunity to highlight community pharmacy but as the process progressed it became quite clear that it was a "tick box" exercise by NHSE.

Philip Caton, Community pharmacist

Why is anyone surprised by this????????

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