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Pharmacy bodies unite to share ‘ambitious’ vision for sector

Rob Darracott: Vision does not factor in uncertain future of pharmacy funding

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and Pharmacy Voice, with the support of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's (RPS) English pharmacy board, have published their “ambitious” vision for the sector.

The Community Pharmacy Forward View, published today (August 30), outlines three roles through which pharmacists can "secure the best possible future for the [health] system as a whole".

The three roles outlined for pharmacists – a “facilitator of personalised care”; a “trusted, convenient first port of call for episodic healthcare advice and treatment”; and a “neighbourhood health and wellbeing hub" – will ensure pharmacies become a "one-stop hub for advice, treatment and coordination of care", the organisations said.

The document acknowledges that many of the activities outlined – including supporting individuals with long-term conditions to optimise their use of medicines – might already be happening routinely in community pharmacies. 

But the pharmacy bodies “want to see these ways of working embedded across the whole system in five years’ time”, they said. They have also included "a day in the life of the future community pharmacy team", which can be found on page 18 of the document.

No accounting for cuts

The proposals “make no assumption about the future funding model of the sector”, a spokesperson for Pharmacy Voice told C+D today, and so the bodies could not confirm how the proposed £170 million cut to the global sum in England might impact on these plans.

However, “any funding reduction will, of course, inform the scope and scale of the wider benefits the sector can deliver”, Pharmacy Voice added.

“Sense of direction”

RPS English pharmacy board chair Sandra Gidley said the document would provide a much needed “sense of direction” for pharmacists and their teams facing uncertainty.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said the document was just a “starter for 10”, based on previous work undertaken by each of the pharmacy bodies.

He is now inviting contractors, employee pharmacists, pharmacy staff, local commissioners, patient groups and other healthcare providers “to respond to our ideas and share stories and examples”.

“They may appear ambitious, but all of the proposals are based on the innovative work of community pharmacy teams across the country, which is happening right now,” Mr Darracott said.

"We urge new [pharmacy] minister [David Mowat] to engage with us on this vision when considering his next steps for our sector," he added.

What needs to happen to make this forward view a reality?

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

This is ridiculous! Get your head of the clouds and start fixing some of the mess that working pharmacists struggle through every day first.

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

I've been hearing this garbage for nearly forty years and guess what?.... things only ever get worse and it's always more work for less money.

Brian Austen, Senior Management

Plan; smart objectives, resources, action by 'doers'. Simple! unfortunately Pharmacy often gets stuck at the beginning of the plan with Vision (ideas) and they remain just ideas.

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

There are some really excellent ideas in these proposals. Let's hope the new pharmacy minister agrees and they can be taken forward to test.

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