The NHS England primary care strategy barely mentions pharmacy because it was “not a commentary” on the sector, the commissioning body’s London director has said.
The Five Year Forward View was not intended to focus on a particular profession and had "very much" taken into account pharmacy's responses to its Call to Action consultation, of which there were more than 800, NHS England regional director for London Anne Rainsberry stressed.
Ms Rainsberry defended the "visionary document", which only mentions pharmacy four times, against criticism from LPC leaders, who branded the consultation a waste of time.
“It [the Five Year Foward View] was meant to look at the challenges and the things we could do about it. I don’t think it sought to say that pharmacy didn’t have a key role, because clearly it does,” she told C+D last week (December 9).
The document called for pharmacists to form large-scale primary care practices with GPs, and Ms Rainsberry said this should act as a “rallying call” to encourage the two professions to collaborate together.
“[There is a] growing understanding in every western country that people live longer and are becoming ill [with] long-term conditions,” Ms Rainsberry said. “We need a much more integrated approach [and] I feel optimistic about it.”
National Association for Primary Care co-chair Charles Alessi told C+D last month that the references to pharmacy in the document were “notable by their absence”. “All it does is paint a picture of what a future health and social care system may look like, but the detail is completely missing,” he said.
In April, NHS England said it had been “overwhelmed” by more than 800 responses to the Call to Action consultation for 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.