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Better late than never


Better late than never

ICP May 2016, editor's comment

The news that NHS England needs to commission an independent review to discover absolutely fundamental facts about community pharmacy might make you wonder what on earth the Department of Health and your professional bodies have been doing for the past few years.

Why, in 2016, does NHS England not know whether there is any value in, and evidence for, pharmacy services provided under a contract launched 11 years ago? And why is it only now asking what barriers prevent better utilisation and commissioning of community pharmacy services? For starters, it obviously doesn’t believe, or hasn’t been listening to, what pharmacy bodies have been telling it at every opportunity.

This review could prove pivotal to the future of community pharmacy in England. Let’s hope it tells NHSE what everyone in the profession thinks they know are the facts: this is a trusted, accessible, flexible and cost-effective service. At least a million members of the public think so, having taken time to sign the petition against proposed funding cuts.

All NHSE seems certain about in relation to primary care is that general practice must reign supreme. The announcement of an extra £2.4bn annual funding for GPs by 2020/21, even when coupled with funding for a further 1,500 practice pharmacists, will raise the hackles of contractors facing funding cuts. New roles within GP practices will be welcomed by some employees with clinical interests, but are likely to be to the detriment of the community pharmacy network.

One thing not in doubt, however, is the strength, resilience and determination of the independent sector to continue delivering high quality healthcare. With the pressure on, it is increasingly important to work together, and to this end ICP has forged an even closer link with the NPA to bring you a brand new eight-page supplement packed full of news, views and must-dos from your trade association. As the name suggests, ‘NPA essential’ is a must-read for independent pharmacists and their staff. This close collaboration will also allow ICP to bring you more topical news, features and CPD material in its new 52-page issue size.

And there is still plenty of time to enter this year’s Independent Pharmacy Awards, so take another opportunity to demonstrate the value of the independent sector by putting your pharmacy forward and showcase the excellent work of you and your team.

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