Adding a new service-based pharmacy contract on top of the existing one could facilitate the implementation of a foot check service in community pharmacy, a diabetes specialist pharmacist has said.
Speaking about the role of pharmacists in diabetes care at the Royal Society yesterday (10 January), Ilford Medical Centre clinical pharmacist Imran Kahn said that ‘we’re missing a major opportunity’ by not utilising community pharmacists’ skills in preventing and treating diabetes.
He told The Pharmacist that setting up a service-based funding model, on top of the current volume-based contract, could allow foot checks to be done in pharmacies and take pressure off GP practices.
Two pharmacy contracts?
Mr Kahn said: ‘Foot checks in community pharmacy aren’t done at the moment and won’t be done because it’s not funded.
‘To have the funding you would need to change the contract to be service-based. But not everybody wants a service-based contract so why not have two contracts? Why not have healthy wellbeing pharmacies, which rely very little on dispensing, [on top of] prescription factories?’
In October, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Simon Dukes revealed that he wants the sector to move towards ‘a more service-based offer’ to have a fair reimbursement system.
‘Missing a major opportunity’
As a GP pharmacist, Mr Kahn explained that doing insulin titration for his diabetes patients takes him four to five appointments. However, he said that current pressures have prompted him to send some of his patients to a specialist service or a hospital where they sometimes have to wait up to 16 weeks.
He argued that community pharmacies are best placed to advise patients on diabetes care due to their accessibility and knowledge.
He said: ‘We’re missing a major opportunity. Community pharmacies are just out there and are more than equipped to take some of that pressure off GPs.
‘Why can’t we have diabetes-friendly pharmacies where you can go and get your diabetes information, foot checks and all sorts of stuff from accredited pharmacists?’
Mr Kahn said that he would like to see a ‘specialist qualification in diabetes tailor made for pharmacists’.
‘If I want to be a consultant pharmacist in diabetes I have to go and work in hospital, that’s the only way I can get that qualification. That’s wrong,’ he added.