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Plan drawn up to get ‘true’ value from medicines and pharmacy


Plan drawn up to get ‘true’ value from medicines and pharmacy

By Neil Trainis

Leading figures from across the pharmacy sector have drawn up a series of recommendations they believe will improve integrated care systems’ understanding of the profession across England and support it to play a major role in community-based healthcare in years to come.

Public Policy Projects, which brings together public and private sector bodies and the life sciences industry to formulate health policies, convened more than 40 stakeholders including ICS leaders, local pharmaceutical committee representatives, pharmacy teams and researchers to discuss “pharmacy-led transformation in health and care.”

The recommendations, contained in a report published this week , include getting ICSs to encourage contracts to shift to an outcomes-based model while NHS England and the government were urged to improve the recruitment and retention of staff in community pharmacy by ensuring the additional roles reimbursement scheme is constantly reviewed in each region.

That, the report said, would ensure “the local pharmacy workforce is not unnecessarily depleted while ensuring effective support for general practice.” The report called on NHS England to create an ARRS specifically for community pharmacy to “not only boost capacity for the sector but also make it a more competitive employer.”

The report also said future pharmacy contractual reforms “should be integrated in nature, considering the full breadth of primary care service provision” and pharmacy services should be incentivised to meet health targets.

ICSs were urged to involve pharmacy in their medicines optimisation plans and health management strategies to reduce health inequalities in local communities and encourage pharmacies to collaborate with other health and care professionals, especially “those who specialise in public health.”

ICSs, the report added, should give pharmacies access to any data it has that will allow pharmacy teams to connect more effectively with local communities and create “more effective pharmacy leadership development programmes” to make pharmacy career pathways more attractive.

Leadership of the 1,250 primary care networks in England, the report said, should be more diverse and contain greater pharmacy representation, which in turn would allow them to address the profession’s “historically flat career progression” by creating more opportunities for pharmacy staff.

One recommendation was to expand the pharmacist ambassador role, which was developed to support PCN pharmacists, so it better supports new pharmacists and pharmacy technician trainees.

True value of pharmacy not well articulated by pharmacy

The report was concerned that “the true value of pharmacy is not well articulated by the pharmacy profession itself” and suggested that as a result, ICSs do not have a good understanding of the profession. Stakeholders called for the pharmacy sector to be supported “to develop the voice, vision and leadership to meaningfully contribute to the delivery of integrated care.”

The talks were held over three sessions and chaired by Frimley Health and Care ICS’s chief pharmacist and director of medicines optimisation Yousaf Ahmad.

Michael Lennox, the local integration lead at the National Pharmacy Association who contributed to the report, said LPCs can use the recommendations as “a tool…to deepen their relationships” with integrated care boards. “It’s also further evidence that the direction of travel we are on, towards locally integrated clinical care, is set firm,” he said.

Lennox also welcomed the recommendation to place the ARRS under constant review in each locality but cautioned that pharmacy leaders needed to face up to the challenge of ensuring the sector improves health outcomes in partnership with “the wider primary care team.”

“The NPA has always stressed that community pharmacy should be involved in key decisions in neighbourhoods and systems to help increase patient access and tackle healthcare inequalities,” he said.

Public Policy Projects said Bayer, Optum, Pfizer, Written Medicine and Ridge Pharma participated in the discussions and provided sponsorship funding for the talks but stressed they had “no input into the topics set or payment of any speakers/contributors.”

Public Policy Projects also insisted it “retained full editorial control,” although it revealed individual sponsors reviewed the material “in line with their relevant industry code.”

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