The government must overhaul pharmacy funding if the profession is to tackle the "overwhelming" burden of preventable disease, MPs have argued.
Caps on MUR funding must be removed and pharmacists should receive payment for promoting self-care, the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on primary care and public health said in a report released today (July 18).
The report follows the APPG's inquiry into the future of the NHS and was released ahead of the APPG's summer reception being held today. At the reception, speakers and guests will debate the implications of the six-month inquiry and how to address the "massive demand" preventable diseases are placing on the NHS.
Failure to address preventable diseases will leave the NHS struggling to cope with the burden of obesity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption and lack of exercise, MPs warned
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Failing to tackle the issue, the group said, could result in the NHS becoming "little more than an emergency service", as it struggles to cope with the burden of obesity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption and lack of exercise.
But the APPG report said pharmacy could help patients care for themselves. It suggested prevention and self-care education should be built into the both the pharmacy and GP contracts.
The group named MURs as key to reducing medicines waste, caused by over-prescribing and patients not taking their medicines as intended. It called for the cap on MURs to be lifted to enable pharmacists to work closely with patients and "develop solutions around their use of medicines".
Other APPG recommendations included employing a dedicated cabinet-level public health minister and reinvesting money saved by the NHS efficiency gains into disease prevention.
Seventy per cent of adults in England are estimated to engage in two or more of the main unhealthy behaviours such as smoking and lack of exercise. In December, the Nuffield Trust warned of a potential £54 billion shortfall in NHS funding in the next 10 years if the system didn't change.
The report has been sent to the government for consideration, the APPG said.
What changes would you like to see to the pharmacy contract that would allow you to focus on prevention?