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GP Forward View gets mixed reaction

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GP Forward View gets mixed reaction

NHS England’s increase in ‘primary care’ investment in fact sits entirely with GPs

The publication of NHS England’s General Practice Forward View, which commits to an additional £2.4bn annual funding for general practice by 2020/21 and an extra 1,500 co-funded practice clinical pharmacists, has received a mixed reaction from pharmacy bodies.

With community pharmacy midway through a consultation on a funding cut of more than 6 per cent, the announcement of significant financial investment into GPs would feel very hard to swallow, said Pharmacy Voice in a statement.

It went on to say: “As we have seen so many times in the past, the General Practice Forward View does not simply place GPs at the centre of the primary care system but implies that they are the only meaningful providers of first contact care and advice and ongoing community-based support for patients. As a result, NHS England’s increase in ‘primary care’ investment in fact sits entirely with GPs. This ignores and undermines the crucial role played by community pharmacy team members and many other dedicated healthcare professionals working in primary care.”

If the NHS was to meet the challenges of increasing demand, resource constraints and changing public expectations, the emphasis should be on strengthening cooperation and integration across primary care. This would not be achieved by investing in one end of the system, while making cuts elsewhere.

“Moves to change rules and allow NHS England to fund up to 100 per cent of premises developments in general practice will also shock and frustrate community pharmacy business owners; these concessions that community pharmacy never sees are made to another NHS-funded provider.”

Investment in pharmacy preferrable

Sustained investment in local pharmacies would be a far bigger stride towards creating a world-class health service, according to the NPA. Chairman Ian Strachan said: “There is already a highly qualified workforce in local pharmacies right across the country and a well established infrastructure for delivering care in those settings. Community pharmacies are a ready-made solution on the health service front line, close to where people live, work and shop. Pharmacies are trusted by patients because they have been at the heart of the community for years.”
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, however, welcomed the announcement of funding for practice pharmacists. Its England board chair Sandra Gidley said: “It was only just over a year ago we began a campaign with the Royal College of GPs to ensure every GP practice had access to a pharmacist as part of the practice team. I would hope today’s announcement will leave no doubt that we are an organisation that can deliver real and lasting improvements for the profession and patient care.”

“The creation of around 2,000 new jobs for pharmacists, in an era of austerity where value must be proven rather than assumed, shows a strong commitment to the profession from the very top of NHS England. GPs want to work alongside pharmacists, for pharmacists to be part of the team, alongside nurses, mental health workers and others.”

“I would encourage pharmacists to investigate this career opportunity, and we will be making sure support and development is provided through the RPS Faculty and our direct support services. We look forward to working with RCGP, NHS England National Association of Primary Care and NHS Clinical Commissioners to step up actions to grow the pharmacy workforce and stimulate a more diverse range of workforce models within primary care “  



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