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LPC chief urges Brine to sanction long-term investment in pharmacists

Brine: "We are integrating pharmacists into primary care" (Credit: Chris McAndrew under CC BY 3.0)
Brine: "We are integrating pharmacists into primary care" (Credit: Chris McAndrew under CC BY 3.0)

A local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) chief has called for "long-term" investment to realise the pharmacy minister's plans to "integrate pharmacists into primary care".

Leicester and Rutland LPC chief officer Luvjit Kandula said placing pharmacists in GP practices and care homes were "landmark developments" for the community pharmacy sector.

"But we hope that there will be continued investment in these roles for the long-term," she told C+D yesterday (March 22).

Ms Kandula was reacting to pharmacy minister Steve Brine’s comments in parliament on Tuesday (March 20).

"Through the Pharmacy Integration Fund we are integrating pharmacists into primary care," Mr Brine said in response to a question from Labour MP Steve Double on “what steps [the minister] has taken to support pharmacies and further integrate them with general practice”.

Commenting on Mr Brine's response, North East London LPC secretary Hemant Patel told C+D he is "not against pharmacists working in different locations", but stressed "there has to be more investment in community pharmacy".

Investment in pharmacists at the expense of bricks-and-mortar pharmacies shows "a desire to separate services from supply", he claimed, and means "community pharmacy will be left with [the function of] distribution of medicines".

STP integration

In his parliamentary response, Mr Brine also said further integration with general practice could be achieved through "community pharmacies themselves" working with local sustainability transformation plans (STPs).

Leicester and Rutland LPC has had "some positive engagement" with their local STP, Ms Kandula said, although it has "taken a lot of time".

The sector’s engagement is "variable across the board", she added.

Mr Brine’s comments mark "a very positive development for the future integration of community pharmacy into STP planning", Ms Kandula told C+D.

"Many local leaders in community pharmacy would welcome the development of this opportunity [to secure] tangible outcomes."

NPA: “Pharmacies overlooked by STPs”

In its own response, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said "pharmacies are too often overlooked by STPs".

It urged the government "to provide guidance to STPs on the vital role we play within primary care and the fantastic insight we can provide in the design of local health services that are fit for the future", head of corporate affairs Gareth Jones said.

"We will continue to engage with any enlightened STP and clinical commissioning group that fully recognises the clinical and cost benefits of integrating community pharmacy into their plans."

What is your relationship with your local STP?

Hemant Patel, Community pharmacist

Wakey, wakey!

Is it too late for the profession of pharmacy to distinguish between pharmacist and community pharmacy? How can handwaving cheerio sign be interpreted as 'landmark developments for community pharmacy'? Unless it is recognistion of platitude for community pharmacy and cash for the GP sector.



Brian Austen, Senior Management

The fact of the matter is there is little or no representation of pharmacy in STPs and the process of setting up STPs is too advanced to significantly improve pharmacy representation and contribution to the process. The horse has already bolted some time ago. The Minister and NHS England know this and these answers in parliament are being offered to placate those that have noticed that pharmacy has been left behind!

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