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Home  »   Latest News   »   All Party Pharmacy Group publishes manifesto following an inquiry into the future of pharmacy

All Party Pharmacy Group publishes manifesto following an inquiry into the future of pharmacy

The cross-party group of members from the House of Commons and House of Lords has published recommendations around the opportunities for community pharmacy following a recent inquiry, which they say will require collaboration from government, policy makers and the sector to develop a strategic vision. The PDA welcomed the opportunity to provide evidence to the group.

Wed 1st February 2023 The PDA

Taiwo Owetami MP, Chair of the APPG and pharmacist, said, “The entire system, from frontline staff to policymakers to NHS leaders, must show more imagination of what pharmacy can do.

The APPG’s recommendations are;

  • The government must take urgent action to relieve the funding pressures on the community pharmacy sector in the short term and review the long-term funding model for pharmacy
  • The government must harness the power of pharmacy to help the NHS deal with the COVID-19 backlog and the UK’s growing healthcare challenges
  • Future commissioning and funding must recognise that community pharmacy is the front door to the NHS for many patients
  • The DHSC and NHS England must urgently re-evaluate the current and long-term workforce needs of the entire health and social care system, including pharmacy
  • The government should build on current commitments to provide funded Independent Prescriber training to ensure all existing pharmacists can train as Independent Prescribers if they so choose
  • For this ambitious new vision to be realised, community pharmacy must be placed at the heart of decision-making and policy development

The APPG report also recognises that, “There is an overwhelming case to make better use of the clinical skills offered by the workforce and more needs to be done to increase the perception of the modern-day pharmacist, as a clinical practitioner, amongst primary care colleagues.

The PDA provided both written and oral evidence to the APPG as part of the inquiry, and shared proposals outlined in their recent report around how lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic can help to support better integration in NHS Primary Care. The PDA’s proposals are predicated on more than one pharmacist working in a community pharmacy and include supporting more joined up care through a Community of Practice delivered by a locally managed system. This will include the support of patients through pharmacy-led technology hubs to facilitate access to virtual NHS appointments, and the improvement of systems to enable pharmacists to be able to make appropriate referrals to other parts of the NHS or to social care.

The proposals were developed through PDA member focus groups and a stakeholder roundtable event at the House of Lords which heard from patient organisations, GPs, NHS Trusts, pharmacy contractor representatives, NHS commissioners and leaders, and politicians.

Underpinning the PDA’s recommendations is a call for a more integrated healthcare system that could enable pharmacists to provide effective, and more efficient care to patients. Pharmacists based in a variety of settings, including those in local communities, are best placed to carry out a whole range of NHS services, but this must be supported with the right funding, structures and workforce in place.

Claire Ward, PDA Director of Public Affairs said, “The PDA continues to develop innovative strategies which are member-led and based on the knowledge and expertise of frontline pharmacists, such as the proposals outlined in our evidence given to the APPG as part of the recent inquiry.

The government, policy makers and all stakeholders need to think differently about the potential scope of services that pharmacists have to offer the NHS if they were supported by better collaboration, clinical referral frameworks and a more integrated approach. 

The opportunities are significant, but a fresh solution is needed around funding and workforce to enable sustainable, high-quality healthcare to be more widely available in local communities.  

Pharmacists are fundamental to any plans involving pharmacy, as they have the professional training and expertise to provide the range of clinical services that the NHS needs, and the public are increasingly coming to expect. However, they require the optimal infrastructure, professional environment and working conditions to support the ambitions to develop their role.

Read the APPG report here

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