NHS England vanguard sites will “naturally migrate” towards community pharmacy as they develop, the commissioning body’s acute care lead has said.
The vanguard scheme – which includes 37 sites across England piloting new models of care – is a “real opportunity” for the sector to “prove its value”, NHS England director for acute episodes of care Keith Willett told C+D at a King’s Fund event on urgent care on Tuesday (September 22).
“Once [pharmacy's] profile is raised then you’ll start to see a takeoff. This is one of those things: get into the space, and then grow,” he said.
Professor Willett said the Royal College of General Practitioners "may well be right" in its assertion that pharmacists were not properly utilised in the first wave of the pilot sites.
“I suspect the vanguard programme moved very quickly, and inevitably you get the big organisations together first. Therefore pharmacy didn’t get the profile it may well deserve,” he told C+D.
Vanguard sites in Cambridgeshire and Devon are among those who have told C+D they intend to make use of pharmacists, while a vanguard site in southern Hampshire said last week that there is "huge" the potential for pharmacy to get involved.
Click here for more information on the vanguard project.