Money from the Pharmacy Integration Fund will be used to recruit ‘integration leads’ to help community pharmacies engage with Integrated Care Systems, the NHS has announced.
NHS England & Improvement said on Tuesday that PhIF monies would be used to fund the integration leads for two years from 2022-23. PSNC said the leads “will be instrumental in spearheading the implementation of community pharmacy services locally and help support the transition to ICS”.
ICS boards have been controversial within the community pharmacy sector, with many concerned that the new structures will entrust GPs with commissioning power at the expense of other primary care providers.
The PhIF will also be used to help GP surgeries engage with the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, create regional senior pharmacy integration roles that sit under regional chief pharmacists, and help hospitals implement referrals to community pharmacy services.
PSNC services director Alastair Buxton said: “Better integration of community pharmacy and its services within the wider health and care system is a key aim of PSNC and is at the heart of the agreed programme within the five-year CPCF.
"This integration requires relationships to be developed or enhanced with colleagues in primary care networks, at place level and within ICS; anything that can help facilitate this, such as NHSE&I’s planned investment in ICS integration leads, is to be welcomed.
“There is also a need for investment to support community pharmacy PCN leads to work with clinical directors and others in their PCN to improve team working and collaboration to the benefit of patients.
"We sought such investment from outside the CPCF global sum in the recent negotiations and while such funding was available, we will continue to push for that as an important enable of local integration.”