NHS England will publish a response to its Call to Action consultation for pharmacy in a u-turn for the commissioning body, C+D has learned.
The response, to be published in "early 2015", would take account of the “best ideas” for “new models of care” arising from last year's Call to Action consultations for community pharmacy, dentistry, and optometry, NHS England said last month (December 23).
The news marks the second change of plan for the commissioning body's response to the consultations. In March, it promised to publish its "strategic primary care commissioning framework" before the end of 2014, which would take account of pharmacists' submissions to the consultation.
But NHS England told C+D in November that its Five Year Forward View document, published in October, included “everything” about its primary care strategy and “all the things that would have been in the national strategic commissioning framework". The document made no reference to the Call to Action and LPC leaders slammed the commissioning body for wasting their time with the consultation.
In its Forward View Into Action document last month, the commissioning body said primary care was "not just about general practice" and acknowledged that it had "heard hundreds of views about how community pharmacy, dentistry and aspects of eye healthcare could develop to support better outcomes". The document did not refer to the Call to Action consultation by name.
NHS England told C+D it was unable to comment on the reasons for the u-turn.
'Nobody knows what's happening'
Rekha Shah, chief executive of Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster LPC and secretary of LPC consortium Pharmacy London, criticised NHS England for constantly changing its mind.
“One minute they say one thing, another minute nobody knows what’s happening. It’s been like that for two years. It’s really diabolical,” she told C+D.
But she was optimistic that NHS England’s response would provide “something of substance” for the sector, as pressures on A&E depatrments and GP surgeries gave the commissioning body “no choice” but to make better use of pharmacy.
In December, NHS England regional director for London Anne Rainsberry told C+D that the Five Year Forward View was not intended to focus on a particular profession and had "very much" taken account of the more than 800 responses to the Call to Action consultation for pharmacy.