I attended along with about 60 community pharmacists, pre-registration pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, academics and representatives from public health, CCGs and the local Area Team of NHS England.
The event was "chaired" by Richard Copeland, the LPN Chair, and took the form of a short presentation followed by group work. LPC members from local LPCs facilitated the group work and fed back to the whole room. It was a truly interactive evening. All the delegates contributed and some interesting themes developed.
My group tackled question 2 from the Call to Action Consultation - which was all about considering how the way we commission services from community pharmacy - and how this could change to maximise the potential that community pharmacy can offer to support patients to get the most from their medication...
Some of the suggestions included:-
Expansion of NMS service to include "all new medicines"
Expansion of MUR to remove the cap on numbers
A recognition that to really provide the best service to patients, commissioning of services from both GPs and Pharmacists should be done in an integrated manner. An example of this could be pharmacists managing certain long term conditions once diagnosed by GPs - such as Blood Pressure. Less competition between the professions will provide better care. There was also something about providers and commissioners sitting down together shaping things with services to meet the needs of patients and local priorities.
An understanding that the way services are commissioned at present needs to be simplified...AQP is an incredibly complex device. Perhaps beefing up Area Teams would enable better support to help CCGs etc commission appropriately for the benefit of patients.
A suggestion that once a service has been proven in a few areas; it should be offered to all as a nationally commissioned service - examples included Flu vaccination and minor ailment services.
A recognition that the future will be in high quality services; and that supply should be a technical skill. We did however agree that this move towards "pharmacy care" provided by pharmacists MUST be via an evolutionary pathway. We must keep supplying medication, as many services based on medicines management are vital to patient care. Proper skill mix within pharmacy is vital as is improved marketing of services and signposting into pharmacy.
The area team are collating the ideas and suggestions from all contributions at this meeting, together with contributions from the other 2 similar meetings...and these will be sent to the DoH as a formal response from the LPN.
GST LPC will be sending a joint response with Sunderland LPC...
I've said before how important this consultation is. It will shape the future of community pharmacy.
Thank you if you have attended one of the meetings, or sent in a response...If you haven't, there's still time to get involved.
Click here to give us your thoughts.