Measures to make attaining Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) status easier to attain will be put in place from April 2016.
While currently all tiers in the HLP framework have to be contracted by commissioners, Public Health England (PHE) is proposing to allow pharmacists to self-assess for the first tier.
The reforms are at an early stage but it is hoped allowing self-accreditation will foster a more inclusive approach for pharmacies that want to reach HLP status.
Details are still being finalised and there is no confirmation yet if there is a cost implication for pharmacies that want to bypass commissioners during the initial stages of becoming HLPs.
Professor Kevin Fenton, the national director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said “quality criteria and a governance framework” will underpin the profession-led self-assessment.
He added: “This would provide a pathway for those working at level two and three that would continue to be commissioner-led with services being commissioned to meet local need.
“In this vision you have an entry process that is far more inclusive, which is profession-led that enables you as individuals to begin thinking about the assets you have, what you would like to achieve and how you would like to do that.”
A survey carried out in summer 2014 estimated there are 1,850 HLPs nationally.
“Our aim is to double the number of accredited HLPs and those on route to becoming accredited by the end of March 2016,” said Fenton.
“We need to be working towards a future in which pharmacy teams are fully integrated into local primary care networks, playing an appropriate and pivotal role in improving the health of people in local communities.”
The Pharmacy and Public Health Forum and the HLP task group made the recommendation for a profession-led self-assessment to PHE.
Pharmacists hoping to achieve level one status would need to provide proactive health and wellbeing advice to meet set criteria but with no commissioned services.
Levels two and three would continue to be providing commissioner-led services.
Details of the criteria and self-assessment process are being finalised with phased implementation expected to go live in April 2016.