The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will call for pharmacy to play a greater role in emergency care in England, as part of its planned campaign to draw attention to the sector.
In the first of five campaign strands aimed at decision-makers within the NHS, the RPS will renew its call for a national minor ailments scheme and recommend that the NHS 111 service should refer patients to pharmacists as a treatment option.
The initial campaign, which launches later this month, would coincide with NHS England's plans to promote community pharmacy services such as minor ailments schemes and emergency medicines supply to clinical commissioning groups, the RPS told C+D today (October 16).
Further campaign elements would focus on pharmacists role in relation to patient records access, working with GPs, long-term conditions and improving care in care homes, it said.
In a briefing document for the first part of the campaign, the RPS drew attention to the accessibility of community pharmacies and to a 2014 study that showed "symptom resolution" for minor ailments was as good for patients who visited a pharmacy as for those who attended a GP surgery or emergency department.
"Pharmacists in the community could play a greater role in urgent care requests from people with common self-limiting ailments, both as a triage and referral service but also as an end point," the RPS said in its briefing document.
A nationally funded minor ailments scheme would ensure the service was delivered "to the same standards and quality across the country", the RPS stressed.
The campaign, under the overarching title 'Shaping pharmacy for the future', had received "unanimous support" when it was unveiled by the society's English Pharmacy Board chair Dave Branford at a board meeting earlier this month, the RPS said.
"It's not good enough that our profession, the third largest in the NHS, is still not considered as central to the reforms of the service. I am delighted that we will be focusing our efforts where we believe the profession can make the biggest impact," Mr Branford said.