The trade association representing manufacturers of branded over-the-counter medicines in the UK has said it is disappointed the government’s NHS long-term plan failed to make self care central to its blueprint.
The Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), which also represents manufacturers of self care medical devices and food supplements, said the plan, which sets out the future of the NHS for the next decade, was to be welcomed for its focus on prevention and determination to transform healthcare to improve standards.
However, the PAGB said the NHS had “missed an opportunity by not making self care a central part of its plans.”
PAGB chief executive John Smith said: “The ambition to redesign healthcare so people get the right care at the right time in the optimal care setting is welcome, however, for people with self-treatable conditions, often the right care is self care.
“We are disappointed the long-term plan does not include measures to empower people with the knowledge and skills to self care when it is most appropriate for them to do so. This is vital for the future sustainability of the NHS.
“We support the long-term pan’s reference to community pharmacists promoting self care. Pharmacists are expert healthcare professionals who are ideally placed to support people with self-treatable conditions and advise them on the use of over-the-counter products to manage their symptoms.
“We believe that a national strategy for self care is now needed to introduce the range of policies necessary to support members of the public and the clinical community to embed self care into the NHS and people’s lives and ensure a sustainable future for our health and care system.”
PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes, meanwhile, said pharmacy’s negotiator was keen to start talking with the government on how community pharmacy will contribute to the plan.
“We are ready to begin those conversations and with the NHS now clear on its own 10-year plan, we want to begin negotiations on a similar long-term plan for community pharmacy, setting out how pharmacies can do more, working closely with primary care colleagues, for the benefit of the NHS and patient,” he said.
Dukes also said the PSNC wanted to talk to the government about a multi-year funding settlement.
“We know that for community pharmacy to make a real contribution to this plan we will need to see transformative change in the sector, shifting our funding from a focus on the dispensing of medicines to patient care, and freeing up pharmacists’ time to offer more clinical services to patients,” he said.
“PSNC has been pressing for reform of community pharmacy’s reimbursement arrangements for a number of years so we are keen to begin discussions on this. Our ambition is to work with government on a multi-year settlement for community pharmacy, setting out what pharmacies are working to achieve and what money will be available for doing so, and helping the sector to move towards a future in which pharmacies are fairly rewarded for providing a range of clinical services that benefit patients and the NHS.”
He added: “As well as this national work, there will be much to do at a local level to ensure that community pharmacy is involved in the development of primary care networks and integrated care systems.
"We will continue to work closely with (local pharmaceutical committees) to ensure that they have the skills and the tools that they need to lead that difficult local engagement and leadership work.”
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