Community pharmacy can play a greater role in the future of the NHS, but the sector needs “standardisation and uniformity” when it comes to commissioning services, Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) – which represents the UK’s largest multiples and supermarket pharmacies – has said.
Speaking at Westminster Health Forum's conference last week (June 5), on primary care’s role in implementing the NHS long-term plan, Mr Harrison drew on “small-scale pilots and initiatives” to “demonstrate the potential” of community pharmacy. He mentioned the NHS 111 direct referral pilot, sore throat test and treat services, and atrial fibrillation checks.
While some pharmacy services have seen successes through regional “connection schemes”, he urged the NHS to use community pharmacists’ “operational experience and expertise” to deliver schemes “in an effective and efficient and a uniform way across the whole country”.
Give contractors confidence to invest
Contractors need “clarity, focus and a direction of travel to give them confidence to be able to invest in the future”, Mr Harrison added.
The “key issues that need addressing” include workforce development, service design and a “more agile legislative and regulatory framework” to “move things forward” from the 50-year-old Medicines Act 1968.
He called for “system-wide, long-term planning, training and development”, for the whole community pharmacy sector.