PRimage believe that pharmacy stakeholders, the media and parliamentarians will be interested to read the detailed comments and views from the Company Chemists’ Association and AIMP Ltd on the Government’s policy proposals and plans for pharmacy, which were outlined in last week’s White Paper:
Commenting on the Government’s White Paper on pharmacies, released on April 3, CCA and AIMp Ltd Chief Executive, Rob Darracott, said:
“The CCA and AIMp welcome the significant intent by Government to develop the role of the community pharmacist in England, as outlined in the White Paper ‘Building on Strengths, Delivering the Future’. We fully support as priority areas for urgent action the expansion as a full NHS service of the pharmacists’ long-standing role in managing minor ailments, and building on the accessibility of pharmacies as the basis for health promotion advice, health screening services and the delivery of vaccination programmes.
“We are particularly pleased to see the commitment to making better use of pharmacists’ knowledge and skills to help patients with long-term conditions manage their medicines and therefore their condition more effectively. We believe there are points in the patient’s care pathway – for example, when starting a course of a new medicine for a long-term condition – when pharmacists, whose professional training encompasses all aspects of the formulation and use of medicines, are the right members of the wider health care team to provide the specific advice patients need.
“Working with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the National Pharmacy Association, we provided the Department of Health with some specific examples of innovatory practice where pharmacists have been shown to make a significant impact on health outcomes by responding to patients’ questions about their medicines and helping their understanding of how their medicines will improve their condition. We are therefore delighted to see some of those examples highlighted by the Government in this White Paper as worthy of further investigation and implementation more widely in the NHS.”
“The CCA has expressed its concern over the past year, initially to Anne Galbraith as she was conducting her review of the pharmacy contractual framework, that the processes for commissioning pharmacy services at a local level were not, with some notable exceptions, working as intended. Local initiatives have stalled, and some of the impetus and goodwill arising from the new contract in 2005 has been lost. The Government’s specific commitment to work with the NHS and relevant partners to identify how its world-class commissioning competences should apply to the commissioning of services from pharmacy is therefore welcome, as are the recommendations within the White Paper that commissioners should include community pharmacists in local planning processes and link with pharmacy stakeholders to understand were community pharmacy services can have the greatest impact in meeting the objectives of practice-based commissioning (PBC).
“In the same context of improving local commissioning, the proposal for a fourth category of service – directed enhanced – is an interesting one, providing as it will a more central steer to the process for how national policy direction can be delivered in an NHS that is increasingly and rightly designed around local priorities. In our view, the Government has rightly concluded that services designed to improve medicines use or access to medicines should be taken forward for all patients, and not be subject to piecemeal implementation across the country by PCTs.
“The White Paper acknowledges the investment community pharmacy providers have already made in anticipation of changes in emphasis within the contract towards rewarding more clinical services. CCA and AIMp member companies believe this investment has yet to be properly rewarded, particularly through the commissioned services elements of the 2005 contract, and would want to flag up that other elements are currently working against motivating contractors to invest further. We believe the fair funding approach is the right one, but it needs to be delivered as well as designed, and work needs to be done as a matter of urgency on the contract funding mechanism if it is to be fit for the purpose of supporting the proposals contained in the White Paper.
“We have noted the emphasis within the White Paper on improving quality and in rewarding pharmacists for the health outcomes they achieve. We have been looking at how technology might be used to capture the outputs of pharmacist/patient interactions, and support pharmacists in the delivery of high quality, knowledge-based services. The CCA and AIMp, and their member companies, therefore look forward to playing a constructive part in the design of practical and efficient solutions for implementation of the various elements of what could be the most significant White Paper for community pharmacy services in England since ‘Promoting Better Health’ in 1987.”