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NHS England: Pharmacy's direction towards urgent care and wellbeing

Jill Loader and Alastair Buxton
Jill Loader and Alastair Buxton discussed the sector's future at the Pharmacy Show

Community pharmacy’s “direction of travel” is towards urgent care, health and wellbeing and medicine safety, according to NHS England’s head of pharmacy commissioning.

NHS England has “started conversations to make sure that the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), the National Pharmacy Association, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies and others are on board with where our direction of travel is for community pharmacy”, Dr Jill Loader revealed earlier this month (October 7).

This direction includes “urgent care and wellbeing, which are critical to supporting the rest of the NHS”, Dr Loader said in response to a question from C+D at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham.

The sector has a role in prevention, she added. She cited the example of healthy living pharmacies, which are “part of the local community and driving health promotion”.

Pharmacy also has a “critical role” in reducing medicines errors and “helping people to understand their medicines”, she said.

PSNC backs national stop smoking service

PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton, who spoke alongside Dr Loader on the panel at the Pharmacy Show, said a national smoking cessation service “could be commissioned” in England.

NHS England representatives have highlighted obesity, smoking and cardiovascular disease as priorities for the health service, Mr Buxton claimed.

“They are all areas where [pharmacy] can do something,” he added.

“The NHS stepping up and looking at some complimentary commissioning of that type would be welcomed by public health directors. It's prevention that will make the NHS sustainable in 10 years’ time.”

Pharmacy’s future in primary care networks

Dr Loader also stressed that community pharmacies will play an “important part” in a network of multidisciplinary primary care providers in the near future.

“We don't think primary care networks are just [centred] around a GP,” she said.

Mr Buxton said PSNC is “seeing advances [in] primary care networks across all areas of England”.

“We need to look at how community pharmacy can get involved as a true team member in all areas,” he said. “Primary care networks are an opportunity to get better quality through better teamwork.”

What service would you like NHS England to commission?

Meera Sharma, Primary care pharmacist

It might be the direction of travel, but unless renumeration & contracts are aligned together with funding - this will just be empty words. Needs some backing to get this idea implemented.

Dave Downham, Manager

It might be the direction of travel but is there any petrol money? In a ferrari or an austin princess?

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Spot on Dave. If previous experience is anything to go by we will be expected to walk and pay for our own shoe leather.

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