Pharmacy Voice is calling on the government to drive policy changes that will enable community pharmacists to help deliver efficiency savings for the NHS.

The statement has been made in response to announcements made during the Autumn Statement and Spending Review.

The community pharmacy association cautiously welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s commitment to increase and frontload investment in the NHS in the face of the £22bn funding gap.

In a public statement Pharmacy Voice said: “Through these challenging times we call on policymakers to recognise the efficiencies that the 11,764 small, medium, and large businesses that make up the community pharmacy network and their combined workforce of over 80,000 people, already bring to the health system, and the huge potential to do more.

“With the right changes to policy and practice, community pharmacy teams could help to radically improve the value and effectiveness of the medicines that are paid for by the NHS and reduce demand for higher cost services.

“This will help to safeguard a sustainable NHS and importantly, improve patient outcomes and experience.”

One key change Pharmacy Voice has requested is for pharmacists to have read and write access to summary care records which they say will help push the integration agenda and improve care.

Another major concern highlighted is the proposed cuts to public health budgets with fears reduced funding will impact smoking, alcohol and weight management services.

“Fundamentally, without investing in prevention we are simply storing up greater costs to impact on the health system further down the line.

“If the government genuinely supports the Five Year Forward View, cuts to public health services would contradict this; the document was very clear on the urgency of radically upgrading prevention in public health.”

Osborne used the Spending Review to repeat the government’s commitment to an integrated and modern health service and promised the highest level of investment in the NHS since its inception.