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All pharmacists should work in community pharmacies, ICB member tells Pharmacy Show


All pharmacists should work in community pharmacies, ICB member tells Pharmacy Show

By Neil Trainis

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes integrated care board member Mahesh Shah used a session at the Pharmacy Show to express his concerns about the additional roles reimbursement scheme, describing it as "a strategic mistake" and insisting all pharmacists should work in a community pharmacy, not a GP practice.

During a talk on system transformation and community pharmacy's collaboration with integrated care systems across England, Shah acknowledged general practice was "under huge pressure" but insisted pharmacists are best employed in community pharmacies because that is where they can have the biggest impact in helping to alleviate the pressure on GPs.

"From day one, I have always insisted the definition of primary care is beyond general practice. (But) ARRS-funded pharmacists should be sitting in community pharmacies serving the local population," Shah said. 

He called on NHS England and the government to "move" pharmacists "out of GP surgeries and into community pharmacies."

Raliat Onatade, the chief pharmacist at North East London integrated care system, said she did not agree with Shah that no pharmacist should work in a GP practice, insisting GP pharmacists have an important role to play, but conceded "ARRS funding could be used better." She said "some of that funding" could be used "outside of GP surgeries."

Laura Angus, the director of pharmacy and medicines optimisation and chief pharmacy officer at Humber and North Yorkshire ICB, also disagreed with Shah's suggestion that all pharmacists should work in community pharmacy.

"What signal are we sending if pharmacists only work in pharmacies and GPs only work in GP practices? We'll have silos again when we're trying to smash them down," she said.

When asked to clarify his remarks, Shah reiterated that no pharmacists should work in GP practices. 

Yousaf Ahmad, the chief pharmacist and director of medicines at Frimley Health and Care ICS, said his ICB’s clinical pharmacy leads were building good relationships with the local pharmaceutical committee and insisted pharmacists should not be seen as "contractors" but "NHS colleagues."

"Primary care isn’t general practice," he insisted. Onatade said "it’s important to have community pharmacy colleagues in ICB meetings." 

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