This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

More evidence needed, says expert panel

Event news

More evidence needed, says expert panel

An expert panel at last month’s Pharmacy Show called for more evidence to support the case for pharmacy service commissioning.

“One of the key problems with community pharmacy is that we haven’t collected the evidence for what we do so we can’t show the NHS that evidence,” said Luvjit  Kandula, chief officer of Leicestershire and Rutland LPC. She suggested that a national minor ailments scheme would demonstrate the benefits that pharmacy can deliver, while a volume-based contract did not help the case for service development.

Pharmacy Voice chair Claire Ward said that NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens thought pharmacists were paid £2.8bn simply to “dole out” medicines because he had not been presented with the evidence to convince him otherwise. “We need to be talking the language that says we know what problems the NHS is facing,” she said.

The recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report on pharmacy’s contribution to the NHS showed the huge amount of value that pharmacy added. “Simon Stevens is getting a huge amount of value that he’s not taking account of. We need to be talking in terms of evidence-based outcomes.”

Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board, questioned whether Mr Stevens had ever been into a pharmacy because he thought there was a difference between a community pharmacist and a clinical pharmacist. “Every community pharmacist I know regards themselves as a clinical pharmacist.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has a number of research-ready pharmacies that could be used to collect evidence about services, but they couldn’t yet be coordinated to work on the same project. The Society’s information department was keen to put pharmacists in touch with each other in order to facilitate evidence gathering.

General secretary of the PDA Union John Murphy agreed that evidence was important, but said that it was never collected jointly so there was never a significant collective source. He suggested that the profession should think bigger in terms of commissioning, by considering pharmacists themselves working in the community, rather than simply providing all services from pharmacy premises.

The multiples were pressuring pharmacists to deliver volume, said Mr Murphy. “We treat medicines like normal items of commerce by chasing prescription volume. I’d like to change the pharmacist’s role into one where there’s a greater clinical relationship with the patient. The opportunity is there through the use of clinical records. It’s only through the use of these clinical records that you can be rightful custodians of the medicines budget.”

Ms Gidley said that the profession “missed a trick” when the Health and Social Care Act came into force by not getting enough pharmacists on CCGs. This was partly to blame for patchy commissioning. As new national services were unlikely, she suggested the use of national frameworks that could be used locally.

When asked how the use of robots would affect dispensing in the future, Ms Ward said that dispensing had to remain pharmacy’s core role. “But we should be building on that role to deliver services. It’s not about robots, it’s about technology and we should have more use of technology such as diagnostics.”

Mr Murphy said that pharmacists would always be linked to medicines supply because of the value they add. “You need a human element to robotic dispensing. Robots will become more prevalent but I’m not sure that hub and spoke is a goer.”

The Society was very keen that patients should maintain their link with the pharmacist. “There’s a perception that because people like getting their books from Amazon that they’d like to get their medicines that way too. That’s short sighted.”



Copy Link copy link button

Event news