A package of measures on how to shape the future of pharmacy that the government “cannot afford to ignore” has been published by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).
Community Pharmacy Review 2016/17 outlines how the profession could move towards the more “clinically focussed” approach mentioned in the DH letter that announced the 6% funding cuts.
The committee has now responded to the lack of “specific proposals” from DH and NHS England with a three-phase programme for change to trigger further discussions between the opposing parties.
Ultimately PSNC anticipates the majority of community pharmacists will be qualified as independent prescribers.
The document states: “The proposals are set out in three phases, in recognition of the need to allow the wider NHS and community pharmacy to adopt them in a controlled manner that also allows time for other enablers, such as IT, to be put in place.
“We recognise that implementing these service development proposals would have substantial implications for DH’s planned restructuring of funding delivery and this would require detailed consideration.”
One of the subjects tackled is the Pharmacy Integration Fund, which the government has said will not top £20m in 2016/17.
PSNC has suggested that part of the fund could be used to determine how best to support patients post-discharge as the number of medicines use reviews increases.
It has also highlighted the fund could support the development of IT infrastructure needed to amend the NHS 111 referral pathway to direct patients to community pharmacy.
Phase one of the proposals includes transferring Repeat Prescribing to eRepeat Dispensing as part of a community care package and creating a funding mechanism that ensures there is “no drive to dispense prescriptions where the patient has no need for them”.
Twice-yearly inhaler checks, monitoring and targeting of prescription interventions and six annual public health campaigns also form phase one of the measures.
Phase two relies on all pharmacies providing the national flu vaccination service and having access to secondary care records.
Pharmacists would provide enhanced care including assessing CAT and ACT scores for patients with COPD and asthma, frailty and falls assessments.
Pharmacies would also have to work towards a Healthy Living Pharmacy equivalent accreditation with an ongoing requirement to ensure accreditation is maintained.
In the final phase PSNC envisage the majority of community pharmacists will be qualified as independent prescribers as the profession moves towards the management of long-term conditions.
“Overall, the outline proposals set out here represent a starting point for discussions with DH and NHS England.
“They describe how community pharmacy teams could make a more significant contribution to patient care.
“At this time of financial strain and increasing demand we believe they are ideas that DH and NHS England cannot afford to ignore,” the committee concludes.