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How can pharmacists improve their relationships with hospitals?

"The quality of interprofessional collaborative work needs to improve"

Hemant Patel sets out his vision for how improving the relationship between the community pharmacy and hospital sectors can benefit patient care

The current pharmacy funding contract must go. The new contract must put the patient-pharmacist relationship at the centre of its focus.

But first, we must consider the environment in which we will all have to work. In hospitals and in the communities, sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) are beginning to mark the start of changes, which include collaborative work to improve the care and experience of those using the NHS.

This means systems are being reorganised to deliver ‘population health’. Everywhere in the country, hospital discharge is being redesigned and teamwork being developed that would involve more collaboration between hospital and community-based pharmacists, to optimise not only medicines-related outcomes, but also ensure this interprofessional partnership delivers safety, effectiveness, patient experience and cost-effectiveness.

But to improve patient experience, the quality of interprofessional collaborative work needs to improve. Discharge notes need to reach community pharmacists and feedback must be given to their hospital colleagues.

There may be a need for a patient discharged from hospital to get support for behaviour change, such as in smoking cessation or weight loss. All this depends on pharmacists’ cognitive skills, knowledge of local systems, and relationship with the patient and their carer or family. For the patient’s sake, we need to start discussing this now.

Pharmacists need to be organised and come up with ideas for better outcomes. But before that, let’s consider the question: 'What’s the best environment for good ideas?' I believe a workplace where pharmacists share the profession’s values, but also feel free to be themselves, is in the interest of the patient's needs.

Diversity makes the profession smarter, more innovative and, in turn, a magnet for the very best talent. Pharmacists with the best skills and expertise who feel empowered to contribute as their authentic selves, is what we want to create.

The NHS and pharmacy owners need to focus on creating a stronger relationship between hospital and community pharmacists, and between pharmacists and communities.

The earlier the STPs focus on this relationship-building work, the earlier our profession will deliver the best health outcomes for our local populations.

Hemant Patel is secretary of North-east London local pharmaceutical committee and is also running as a candidate for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English pharmacy board


Marc Krishek, Pharmaceutical Adviser

At the risk of going backwards and forwards with this. We have the best performing community pharmacies in NE London, which is down to the vision and support in NE London to our community pharmacy workforce and the links we make as an LPC

Hemant Patel, Community pharmacist

I’m trying to help our profession that is under the cosh to also consider some opportunities. I’m sorry it did not meet your needs. So, I’ll try one more time.


Pharmacists in community are being recognised as a POTENTIAL partners to support hospital discharged patients so that early discharge can take place and there would be reduced readmission rate. The NHS is changing rapidly and some areas are travelling faster than others. Also new vocabulary is being devised in the health and social care systems which will affect us all. In my work to represent community pharmacists I’ve to learn new vocabulary and ideas everyday. Local commissioners send papers and nationally the NHS develops new ideas and I make it my business to be as much in line with them as possible and at the same time translate these new and complex developments to help my fellow pharmacists. 


The result is the in NEL community pharmacists are helping psychotic patients referred to them by mental health trusts, they are preventing hospital admissions for under 5s after being trained by a paediatrician, as independent Prescribers they are open 8:8 and helping patients with urgent care needs, they are receiving referrals from doctors to help patients with LTCs and provide personalised coaching to improve self care, they are detecting AF and referring patients directly to cardiology teams, they will be supporting hospital discharge patients to stay in communities and reduce hospital readmissions. They will be connected by autumn to the hospitals, surgeries, and with each other.


I’ll pay your locus costs to visit NEL and meet the pharmacists involved in the work described above. All I ask is that you then write an article about their work in C&D. 


Also pls note that these pharmacists are shortlisted for 4 C& D Awards. So, here is a chance to help our profession. I hope you will take it.

Delectable Skeptic, Community pharmacist

Serious question.  Are we having any other guest articles from RPSGB candidates?  (hats off to the visibility strategy, though). 

From your previous posts/responses you seem to be a very nice individual, Hemant.  I just keep getting deja vu with each article as they're full of more buzzwords and corporate speak than a Dilbert cartoon starring the office manager.  Please give us something of actual use rather than a pseudo-LSD trip.  Concrete studies, data...hey, I'll even take some workable personal anecdotes over the "open your mind and set yourself free" I keep reading. 


Phillippe Togers, Academic pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

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