The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network’s (EMAHSN) ‘Frontline pharmacy strategy’ aims to “capitalise on the wealth of expertise” and provide a “direction for the delivery of pharmacy services” in the region.
Working in collaboration with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), NHS England and three university schools of pharmacy, the group has developed four main priorities for health and social care in the East Midlands: electronic clinical transfer of care; making the most of healthy living pharmacies; enhancing care in care homes; and improving care of people with long-term conditions.
The group said the four-point strategy – launched last week (May 24) and expected to be developed further over the next five years – references a number of different reports published over the last few years, including the most recent 'Murray review' into pharmacy clinical services.
Cheryl Crocker, EMAHSN regional lead on patient safety collaboration, told C+D that the 11,500 community pharmacies in England are an “untapped” resource.
“There is a far greater need to make use of pharmacists in the prevention of ill health, support for healthy living and support for self-care,” Dr Crocker told C+D on the day the strategy was launched. “It is about making better use of the skills available.”
1) Clinical handover of care
The group aims to support patients who have been recently discharged and improve the transfer of care between hospital and community settings, it said.
"Community pharmacy can support people post-discharge by working with hospital colleagues to deliver the new medicine service (NMS) and discharge medicines use review (MURs) consultations," the group said.
Dr Crocker explained that this would involve the transfer of information from acute hospital settings to community pharmacies, and highlighted that it could benefit patients on a number of medicines who need support when they are at home.
“There are systems already in place, but not being used effectively,” she said. “[We are] trying to understand which groups of patients would most benefit.”
2) Healthy living pharmacies
The group said it aims to tap into the "tiered commissioning framework" of the healthy living pharmacy network.
"We are scoping to see what this might look like. It is about supporting patients with minor ailments and advice," Dr Crocker said.
3) Enhanced health in care homes
The group's enhanced health in care homes model will become "a core element of the multispeciality community provider", it said.
It highlighted that the RPS, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Geriatric Society "believe that one community pharmacy and one GP practice should be aligned to one care home to allow the development of better care".
4) Pharmacist-led care of long-term conditions
The group described pharmacists as “unused resources” that could make “an immediate difference” by freeing up GPs to manage more complex cases.
"As more people use medicines to manage one or more long-term conditions and more specialist care is delivered closer to home...pharmacists are well placed to provide" clinical advice on effective and safe medicines use, the group said.
Services carried out by community pharmacists increase medicines adherence by around 10%, it added.
However, it said that "innovative commissioning is required locally to enable pharmacists to demonstrate their full potential".