Community pharmacies, GP practices and dentists should work together to create a ‘single collaborative local contract’ based on local health outcomes, the president of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has suggested.

At a local level, Ash Soni said primary care providers should ‘think creatively’ with their integrated care system (ICS) to propose ways to deliver better outcomes for patients.

Speaking to delegates at the Sigma conference today, Mr Soni suggested that he did not think shared contracts would work at a national level, but he emphasised that they could at least be sufficient to ensure contractors are not making a loss.

He encouraged community pharmacy delegates to speak to other local providers to collaborate on an innovative solution that could then be presented to, picked up and commissioned by the integrated care board (ICB).

Innovation begins at a primary care network (PCN) neighbourhood (hyper-local) team level, Mr Soni said.

‘Innovation is always triggered by providers, it is never driven by commissioners,’ he said.

‘They buy what you’re selling. They’re not buying what they don’t know about.

‘And what you can do is that at the very, very local level, you as individuals start to have conversations across your neighbourhood about how you can collaborate to deliver better outcomes.’

He suggested that a primary care offering focused on prevention and proactive care, including working to reduce adverse effects from medicines, could save money in secondary care that could then be re-invested in primary care.

Also at the Sigma conference this week, the four chief pharmaceutical officers (CPhO) for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales shared ambitious plans for Pharmacy First across the four nations.

But David Webb, CPhO for England, revealed that the IT updates allowing GP patient records to be updated with Pharmacy First consultations with ‘one click’ could still be weeks away.

Read our interview with Ash Soni after his election as the first ever pharmacist president of the NAPC, where he said practice pharmacists have ‘a real opportunity’ to be a ‘conduit’ between community pharmacy and general practice, or could risk ‘creating silos’.

What is neighbourhood care?

According to the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), neighbourhood care is:

  • Shaped and defined by the community
  • Comprehensive and personalised, to meet the identified health, wellbeing and environmental needs of the population
  • Delivered by effective teams involving all partners in the neighbourhood
  • Creative and innovative, empowering those living and working in the community to flourish.

Source: NAPC