Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the National Association of Primary Care consult on integration of General Practice and Community Pharmacy

Radical proposals concerning how community pharmacy and general practice could work better together have been jointly announced today by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the National Association of Primary Care.

The two organisations believe the current pressures in primary care access, coupled with increasing demand and the squeeze on finances mean the time is right to think differently about how NHS primary care provision could better meet the needs of patients and the public.

The proposals include:

  • To develop potential schemes and programmes that could increase collaboration between general practitioners and community pharmacists including:

– To consider community pharmacy as an NHS access point for minor self-limiting conditions

– To make sure pharmacists and GP’s prioritise support patients at high risk of a serious health problem, such as frail older people or those with multiple long term conditions

– To encourage patient lead access to health records by community pharmacy

– To use the opportunity of pharmacists directly employed by general practice to link in with community pharmacy

  • To develop an underlying approach that aligns financial incentives for community pharmacies and general practices to work together, a new “Joint Population Health Framework”

Dr Nav Chana, Chair of the NAPC said

“It’s very encouraging that the focus on greater collaboration between community pharmacy and general practice has been recognised. This is an important enabler for a transformed primary care system that NAPC has supported within its 7-Point Plan for primary care.
The opportunities for greater collaboration could have a big impact on the workload pressure for general practice and hence the importance of this consultation at this time!”

Ash Soni RPS President and NAPC Board member said

“For too long community pharmacy has been straightjacketed with a top down contract that doesn’t allow practitioners like me to redesign our local services in line with the population’s needs. It’s time to end the one size fits all approach and allow services be designed around the needs of patients and the public rather than healthcare providers. Working with the NAPC we are suggesting that there is a different way of approaching healthcare, where skills and access are designed to meet patient demand. The NHS is looking for new models of care, I believe that we can either be part of the change and look to an enhanced role or stay as we are and risk being marginalised. More importantly the NHS will miss an opportunity to re- purpose resources which lead to better healthcare services to the public.”

Sandra Gidley RPS Board Chair added

“People have been critical of the English Pharmacy Board programme around pharmacists and GPs, saying we haven’t done enough to promote the potential for community pharmacy and general practice to work together. However this means pharmacy will need to accept change, and I know this is tough, we’re working incredibly hard just to stand still. If we are to move away from the treadmill of dispensing to a role where our clinical skills are recognised and valued by the public then the payment structures we currently work under will need to change. These proposals are designed to test the appetite for that, do we want to stay as we are or do we want a different role in the reformed NHS. Now it’s over to GPs, pharmacists and users of NHS services to let us know what you think.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) are listening to stakeholders from across pharmacy, general practice, the wider NHS and, most importantly, people who use and rely on the NHS, to consider how better integration of the roles of the community pharmacist and general practitioner can improve patient care.

The consultation closes on 9th October 2015.


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