Community sector 'essential' to integrated care vision, says new CPhO

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Community sector 'essential' to integrated care vision, says new CPhO

Community pharmacists are an essential part of the integrated care system vision, according to England’s new chief pharmaceutical officer, David Webb.

Speaking at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress on Friday, Mr Webb said that “during a very challenging time, community pharmacy has been delivering impressive results for patients and community pharmacy colleagues are a key part of the overall direction of travel for clinical pharmacy practice in the future.”

“They are an essential part of the ICS vision. As an example, general practice has already become the highest volume referral pathway for the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, now at over 7000 referrals a week, and growing. On prevention, the blood pressure check service already involves more than 6,800 pharmacies and is increasingly being seen as a key part of the programme to address health inequalities in our most deprived populations,

“It’s hugely positive to see the growing confidence everyone has in community pharmacy. More pharmacy integration programme pilots are already underway, and there are several more in the pipeline,” he said. “These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of opportunity once independent prescribing becomes mainstream.”

Highlighting the the 3000 funded prescribing places for IP training for community pharmacists this year, Mr Webb said: “Where we currently have to operate under PGDs, pharmacist prescribers will be able to offer an entire episode of care which will be much more convenient and accessible for patients.

“We are truly at pivotal moment where there are real opportunities for pharmacy professionals in all parts of the NHS if we get things right. Pharmacy professionals everywhere have emphatically shows that they are delivering the NHS Long Term Plan priorities, supporting the NHS to deliver through incredibly difficult times and now supporting the recovery.

“Over the next four years, we're going to see a great deal more change. We need to be open to this, and to be ready to harness the possibilities as they arise so that we can work together to ensure patients get the very best possible care as an integrated team, wherever we are in the system.

“Every pharmacist being a prescriber on registration from September 2026 will be the most fundamental change in the profession for decades. “We need to frame everything we are doing with this in mind,” he said. “Developing our professional practice to incorporate this as a key priority for me and my team.”

“I can envisage a time when it will be common for pharmacists to manage many long-term conditions within ICS pathways of care. Nationally, we can set the conditions for that to happen, but it needs to be system-led and locally delivered if it is going to come together for the benefit of patients.” 

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