A bloodless revolution: a role for pharmacy

  • The NHS has started a bloodless revolution by initiating a Call to Action. What do we need to consider to shape a bright future for community pharmacy
  • The NHS says, ‘the analysis is clear’
  • The NHS is loved, respected and benchmarks well against other health

HP: this is true for the NHS. Also, community pharmacy is loved, respected and bench arks well against other pharmacy systems in the world. Our six consultations with the public and voluntary organisations in the six NE London boroughs leaves no doubt at all.

  • The core values and commitments set out in the NHS Constitution are
    essential for the wellbeing of patients and communities.

HP: Agreed. So, community pharmacy owners, pharmacists and staff, need to understand the NHS constitution and work out what the health and wellbeing needs are from pharmacy point of view and understand! implement and communicate the vision to their pharmacy users.

  • But the challenges of aiming for excellent outcomes, coping with technological and demographic trends, and living in an age of austerity are unprecedented the NHS’ 65-year history.

HP: agreed for the NHS. The climate for providing ‘pharmaceutical service’ essentially dispensing is changing rapidly and is being replaced by provision of ‘pharmacy-based services’. The focus on outcomes changes from accurate dispensing to improvement in health; personalising care using care plans which means attention is paid to vulnerable groups; using robots, IT and social media, to provide care (not service). Whilst, pharmacy based care provided might be more expensive than before, the total amount paid to community pharmacy sector can remain the same. Some expert commentators have suggested that if network overheads were revised downwards (i.e. fewer pharmacies) all above is possible. Would the future strategy within two years, be to raise professional standards of practice and premises and reduce the number of community premises? If not how should pharmacy contribute to the national funding gap described below?

  • NHS England in expect the taxpayer to bridge a potential £30bn funding
    gap between 2013/2014 and 2020/2021, rising to a possible £60bn gap by 2024/2025; will not concede on standards, scope or funding regimes; and so must work with patients, partners and local communities to accelerate beneficial change.

HP: Many Governemnts estimates tend to edge towards scenarios which are positive and manageable. What if the economy takes a downturn and tua revenues decrease? It is clear that whatever party wins the next election all healthcare, including pharmacy, is in for a really bumpy ride. Every 10 years the volume of prescriptions increase by 60%. Over the last four years we have had a more or less static global sum when adjusted for volume and inflation. Looking ahead, can pharmacies absorb 60% increase in dispensing without new technology, new way of working, increased home delievries, greater education of patients, greater role in supporting the vulnerable groups? I doubt it. So, adoption of new way of thinking is necessary to survive, never mind, prosper.

  • This will require new relationships between citizens and services: active citizens owning their NHS.

HP: Agreed. This means that pharmacies will have to influence local politics? How and who is going to do that? NEL LPC has supported the formation of Public Pharmacy Partnership (Www.nellpc.org.uk). What should happen in each pharmacy?

  • And much greater integration of public services around the needs of patients and local communities.

HP: Agreed. What does integration mean? How will it happen? What is the role of technology, working with the NHS, health and Wellbeing boards, and the general public and the patients.

A lot will change. Each pharmacist must understand that a bloodless revolution is taking place, but it would not be taking place without pain. To learn pharmacists will have to redefine CPD and include all the above points above. Starting with an interest in local politics which influence policies, being proactive or as a minimum working with the local thought leaders and LPCs, adopting a new mindset that looks as change as something desirable and inevitable and constantly adjusting to reposition community pharmacy.

About Hemant Patel

The Secretary was appointed on 15th. June 1995 and has served the LPC and the pharmacy contractors and pharmacists continuously since then. He served four terms as President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and a term as Chairman of the National Pharmacy Association. He was also a Vice-Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee. Internationally, he has served on the Council of Federation of International Pharmacy and also was a Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association. He has also led a number of innovative projects at national and local level.

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