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RPS takes ‘radical’ reforms to parliament on day before cuts

The RPS will deliver its proposals to the House of Commons tomorrow (November 30)

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will take its "radical" demands to formally recognise pharmacists' long-term conditions role to parliament tomorrow (November 30).

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. 

Post-cuts vision

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".

What do you make of the RPS's proposals?

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Not too often you see the words 'radical' and the 'RPS' in the same sentence!

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

The cuts will happen, community pharmacists are too busy unpacking orders, putting the carton on the shelf, taking it off the shelf, counting it out, generating ticket, sticking the ticket, on the carton, bagging up the carton,  ticking the ticket with a pen,sticking a ticket on the bag,  putting the bagon the shelf, taking the bag off the shelf and giving it to the patient. Very clinical role indeed........

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Not to mention counting scripts, signing the backs, sorting into doctor order, separating out the scribbles, etc.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Don't worry parliamentarians, even pharmacists don't take any notice of this lot, so don't trouble yourself to listen. If you are going to turn up to a pharmacy though, make sure you give two weeks notice so the bomb site can be cleared and the staff  temporarily doubled for the occasion. 

This sounds like the last scene in "The Italian Job". "Hold on lad's i've got an idea...." I'm afraid the gold has already slipped out of reach

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

"I want their clinical skills to be much more available to patients..."  As long as they're not in one of those horrid clusters...

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Where am I going to make up the £36000 per annum that I am losing due to the funding cuts?

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

I honestly wish I had the answer to that.  Regretfully, our Scottish and Welsh counterparts seem to be valued by their devolved politicians.  All we keep hearing about are these wonderful "clinical pharmacists" (I do wish a humble shopkeeper like myself could become one of those... [mournful sigh]) that will fix a problem not at all related to the one created by an horrifically short sighted government making irresponsible and down right dangerous decisions based on evidence so flimsy, I'd be shocked if homeopathy wasn't to be included in the next round of "talks"

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Are you a Corbynista, Ben?!!!!

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Oh, that did make me chuckle!  I can confirm I am most certainly not one of Mr Corbyn's disciples.

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