Community pharmacists will take over repeat prescribing from general practice staff in the next five years to ease pressure on primary care, according to a new pharmacy report.

The Community Pharmacy Forward View, from Pharmacy Voice and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said that pharmacists should “radically enhance and expand the services that community pharmacy teams currently provide”.

This includes “managing the majority of repeat prescriptions” from GP practices, “utilising electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) and prescribing by pharmacists”.

The report says the community pharmacy network “can deliver much of what the health system needs, in particular to address the workforce and capacity pressures in other parts of the primary care system”.

In some areas, patients with long-term conditions will also be able to register with a community pharmacy to coordinate their care.

The forward view urges pharmacies to work as “part of integrated primary care networks”, meeting regularly with GP practice teams.

The report says: “With community pharmacists performing as part of their extended network in this way, GPs, practice nurses and practice-based pharmacists will have confidence in community pharmacy teams taking responsibility for supporting people with LTCs to optimise their use of medicines and manage their condition.”

New NHS Alliance said in a statement that they have “long held the view” that community pharmacy is essential to reducing the demand on general practice.

The statement said: “We believe that community pharmacy has a central role to play and it is important for NHS England, CCG and local authority to come together to make this a reality.

“Now is the time to overcome issues around variation in delivery and reshape service to fill the widening gaps in current service provision.”

The report focuses on three “core domains” for community pharmacy:

  • The facilitator of personalised care for people with long-term conditions
  • The trusted, convenient first port of call for episodic healthcare advice and treatment
  • The neighbourhood health and wellbeing hub

NHSCC Chief Executive Julie Wood added: “CCGs recognise community pharmacies as important partners in helping them achieve their aim of ensuring accessible high-quality healthcare for their patients and local populations.”

Approximately 90% of the population live within a 20-minutes walk from a pharmacy, where services are available without an appointment.