In its report, which will be delivered to the House of Commons the day before the funding cuts come into force in England, the RPS has called for a change in policy to enable more pharmacists to become prescribers and ease the “overwhelming demand” facing the health service.
Between 30% and 50% of medicines prescribed for long-term conditions are not taken correctly, said the RPS, which called for pharmacists in England to develop “collaborative arrangements” with NHS trusts, commissioners and GP surgeries to make arrangements for patients with “specific long-term conditions”.
It also called for public health organisations to "fund the use of community pharmacies to target specific health promotion subjects that impact on the management of long-term conditions".
Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS's English pharmacy board, said the report had been produced “in light of" Thursday's £113 million cut to funding.
The RPS is “redoubling its efforts to find new roles for pharmacists and ensure they are an integral part of the multidisciplinary team," Ms Gidley added.
The society's vision for enabling pharmacists across Great Britain to help those with long-term conditions includes:
- Allowing pharmacists to directly refer patients to "appropriate" health and social care professionals
- Better integrate pharmacists into "multidisciplinary teams"
- Ensure all pharmacists have full read and write access to patients health records.
RPS has also laid out specific recommendations for England in order to help patients with long term conditions, which include:
- Pharmacists with "appropriate skills and knowledge" should manage the care of frail, elderly people living in care homes.
- Commissioners, NHS Trusts and GP surgeries should develop collaborative arrangements for specific categories of patients with long term conditions to be managed by pharmacists.
- Pharmacists should play an important role in the management of people with one or more long term conditions.
- Opportunities must be created for multidisciplinary teams to train and develop together to encourage "greater collaboration".
- Pharmacists must have protected time to advance their practice.
Pharmacy minister David Mowat welcomed the report and said it is well-timed to coincide with the independent review of community pharmacy clinical services – led by Richard Murray of the King's Fund – which is due next month.
“Community pharmacists are skilled, registered health professionals who are the experts in medicines use and optimisation. I want their clinical skills to be much more available to patients to help them manage not just their medicines, but also their overall health through the provision of healthy lifestyle advice," he said.
Commenting on the report, Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said being able to speak to a local pharmacist means patients can "access the right care closer to home or their workplace".