Pharmacists can play a greater role in the early diagnosis and continued treatment of cancer.

A report by the UCL School of Pharmacy, Overcoming Cancer in the 21st Century, urged pharmacists to work more closely with other healthcare providers in achieving better care protection.

Speaking at the launch of the report, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, Rob Darracott, challenged NHS England boss Simon Stevens to do more to encourage the “top of the NHS” to partner with pharmacy.

He said pharmacies must be allowed to offer new “bottom-up” ways of enabling the health of the British public to improve and must move away from narrow drug supply, instead acting as joined up healthcare providers.

Darracott told pharmacists not to wait for permission to play a larger role in healthcare delivery; imploring them to act now in doing far more than dispensing medicines.

“We need to prove community pharmacy’s unique selling point: a locally flexible but commonly understood, universal model of primary care that really is fit for the 21st century,” said Darracott.