The recent NHS England Forward View and the forthcoming urgent and emergency care review both put pharmacists at the heart of proposals to reform primary care and reduce pressure on urgent care.
But the profession has traditionally been marginalised in the healthcare system and budgets have been cut as austerity has bitten. Pharmacists have often been overlooked in debates about the future policy direction of the NHS, and there is relatively low public awareness of the current and potential impact of pharmacists on patient care
A year ago an independent commission chaired by Dr Judith Smith of the Nuffield Trust issued a report setting out the way forward for the profession, emphasising the need for pharmacists to embrace the considerable opportunities presented by the changing nature of healthcare.
One year on, real progress has been made. But budget constraints, the diverse nature of the market, and top down contractual arrangements in an era of local decision making threaten to prevent the profession from rising to these opportunities.
This half day event, aimed at national policymakers, looked at pharmacy’s place in the transformed NHS. Key questions included:
- Is the pharmacy profession well placed to help the NHS solve the twin challenges of austerity and the needs of a growing and ageing population?
- What barriers exist to placing pharmacy at the heart of a transformed urgent and emergency care system?
- How can pharmacists help with a primary care service described by GP leaders as being at crisis point?
- How well has the profession embraced the recommendations of the independent commission chaired by Dr Judith Smith?
The event was co-chaired by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair, Health Select Committee, and Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive, Nuffield Trust.
You can access presentations and videos from the event. You can also follow conversations as they happened on the day through our storify of activity.