The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has criticised NHS England for expanding its programme of recruiting practice-based pharmacists while simultaneously cutting investment in local pharmacies.
Earlier this week NHS England announced that over 700 more practices in England will have a pharmacist located in their GP surgery.
NPA chairman, Ian Strachan, said: “This is a kind of policy myopia – investing in a very limited solution and overlooking the transformational opportunities in community pharmacy.
“Of course we welcome the principle of healthcare professionals working together closely to provide seamless care. The danger in this particular proposal is that attention and resources are diverted away from the community pharmacy network, which is under-utilised and under threat.”
Strachan also questioned NHS England’s description of GP-based pharmacists as ‘clinical’, saying it drew “an entirely false distinction” with pharmacists operating from local pharmacies.
“The real solution to GP access pressures can only lie in liberating the clinical potential of all pharmacists, especially those available without appointment, in community pharmacies right across the country,” he added.