'Extend responsibility of pharmacists to ease GP pressure'

'Extend responsibility of pharmacists to ease GP pressure'

The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) have produced a consultationdocument on how integrating the roles of the community pharmacist and general practitioner can improve patient care.

The RPS and the NAPC believe the current pressures in primary care access, coupled with increasing demand and the squeeze on finances mean the time is right to think differently about how NHS primary care provision could better meet the needs of patients and the public.

Both organisations want to encourage greater patient-lead access to health records by community pharmacy and to use the opportunities made by new initiatives by GP practices to employ pharmacists as a link with community pharmacy. Pharmacists and GPs should also prioritise and support patients at high risk of a serious health problem, such as frail older people or those with multiple long-term conditions

And they call for the development of an underlying approach that aligns financial incentives for community pharmacies and general practices to work together, under a new “Joint Population Health Framework“.

NAPC chair Dr Nav Chana said: “It’s very encouraging that the focus on greater collaboration between community pharmacy and general practice has been recognised. This is an important enabler for a transformed primary care system that NAPC has supported within its 7-Point Plan for primary care.

The opportunities for greater collaboration could have a big impact on the workload pressure for general practice and hence the importance of this consultation at this time!”

Ash Soni, RPS President and NAPC Board member, said: “For too long community pharmacy has been straightjacketed with a top down contract that doesn’t allow practitioners like me to redesign our local services in line with the population’s needs. It’s time to end the one size fits all approach and allow services be designed around the needs of patients and the public rather than healthcare providers. Working with NAPC we are suggesting that there is a different way of approaching healthcare, where skills and access are designed to meet patient demand. The NHS is looking for new models of care, I believe that we can either be part of the change and look to an enhanced role or stay as we are and risk being marginalised. More importantly the NHS will miss an opportunity to re-purpose resources which lead to better healthcare services to the public.”

The consultation closes on 9th October 2015.

By Mark Gould

On Medica, 13 August 2015

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