Primary care lobbying group New NHS Alliance has called for a new community pharmacy-led model of care and more support for pharmacy teams to take a greater role in self care, minor ailments and the management of long-term conditions.
In a report published last month, the alliance of health and social care professionals expressed disappointment that the NHS was still not making the most of the expertise of community pharmacists and their teams.
The paper, entitled Supporting the development of community pharmacy practice within primary care, argues that the NHS would benefi t from developing a clear strategy for community pharmacy to deliver its full potential.
Dr Mark Spencer, New NHS Alliance co-chair, said: “We must recognise community pharmacy as a professional clinical retail healthcare environment and as an integral member of the primary care team.”
The report makes several recommendations, including that patients be referred to community pharmacies as the fi rst port of call for acute, self-limiting conditions; that GPs identify opportunities where complete care can be transferred to a community pharmacy once a diagnosis has been made; and that commissioners develop local plans to support community pharmacy in delivering consistent public health messages.
PSNC has welcomed the report, pointing out that the recommendations echo its proposals for how the NHS could make better use of community pharmacies both to improve patient care and reduce pressure on other healthcare professionals.
Sue Sharpe, PSNC chief executive, commented: “We have been pressing for this for many years and NHS England’s refusal to recognise the help community pharmacy can give the NHS – for example through a national Pharmacy First (common ailments) service – is a disgrace.”