The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has published proposals for improving access to NHS care, following a survey which reveals that most people believe access has plummeted.

The survey reveals that 80% of people believe that access to NHS care has eroded in the course of the last 10 years, and especially so in the past 12 months. Nine in 10 people believe that more NHS services should be available in local pharmacies “to relieve pressure on GPs and make NHS services more convenient for patients.”

NPA Chairman, Nitin Sodha, said: “The NHS has a chronic access problem.  Community pharmacy – a walk in service located close to where people live, work and shop - must surely be part of the solution...  Pharmacies have the potential to do so much more to improve access to care, if the government invests in pharmacy services and allows pharmacists to put their clinical skills to full use. Our survey shows that people clearly understand local pharmacies are a solution to the NHS access crisis.”

The NPA’s See You Sooner report calls for:
- Investment in community pharmacy based NHS services, so that patients consistently get quality, convenient, face to face advice and treatment
- More opportunities for pharmacists to initiate, stop or modify patients’ medicines – so that people don’t have to wait for a GP appointment for routine pharmaceutical care
- Community pharmacists to have read and write access to patient records - to give patients the assurance that wherever they access healthcare, their experience will be safe and seamless
- The NHS Constitution to include guarantees of timely face to face access to primary care.  Currently, the access pledges in the Constitution relate to emergency care or interventions that follow referral to hospital specialists; it currently has little to say about timely access to healthcare provided in the community. 

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