Pharmacy is under-appreciated in primary care, according to the Liberal Democrats.
Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb, told the Pharmacist: “Pharmacy deserves more recognition, it’s trusted and people know that they’ll get good advice from their pharmacy.
“In terms of prevention and taking strain off the NHS especially in A&E pharmacy can play a very important role.”
Labour announced their 10 year view for the NHS yesterday (27 January 2015), 100 days before the general election.
Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, revealed how Labour intend to make private health providers subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
Private health providers would also be expected to pay a levy to contribute to the cost of training clinical staff.
Labour has called for the NHS constitution to be “rewritten” for people with ongoing needs able to have the right to a single point of contact for the co-ordination of their care with access to a personal care plan.
Health and wellbeing boards will be responsible for the health and social care needs of those at the greatest risk of hospitalisation through managing “years of care budgets”.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) would be expected to take into account a wider definition of public cost when deciding whether to approve treatments and would also set out what people should expect under whole person care.
Lamb said Labour “still didn’t commit to the £8bn gap [NHS England chief executive] Simon Stevens identified”. He said the Lib Dems would deliver sufficient investment in the system to sustain it and also quality of care for mental health.
Lamb said community services for mental health were being disadvantaged due to the way “money works in the NHS” and more money needed to be invested in primary care, although different approaches to primary care needed to be explored, such as those mentioned by Stevens in the Five Year Forward View, by being open-minded.
Chief executive of the King’s Fund, Chris Ham, said: “Andy Burnham has set out an ambitious and wide-ranging vision for the NHS and social care. It throws down the gauntlet to the other parties to set out their plans ahead of the General Election.
“While he was at pains to stress his plans would not result in another structural reorganisation, it is not clear how change on this scale could be achieved without some changes to commissioning structures in particular.
“The challenge for the Labour Party is to demonstrate how it will provide the funding to implement such a positive vision of the future.”
Co-chair of the NHS Clinical Commissioners, Dr Amanda Doyle, said “CCGs, led by local clinicians who are embedded in their local communities, are already embracing the opportunity to work in partnership to join up care for patients. It is vital that we allow CCGs to continue to do this and to give those existing local partnerships the space and support to grow and mature.”
Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Maureen Baker, said: “It is good to see Labour have acknowledged the resource and workforce pressures facing general practice and their pledge of 8,000 more GPs by 2020 - something the RCGP has long called for - is very welcome.
“We recognise GP access is extremely important but prioritising it over everything else by introducing targets can mean that other services suffer and patients often end up worse off.