What is it about your job that you feel would surprise the public?
The limited access that we as pharmacists have to patient records. Patients seem under the impression we are completely in the loop about their whole care, and are actually surprised we don’t have access to their medication until they inform us themselves.
What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen since you started working in the NHS and social care?
The devolution of health and social care in Manchester – that whole change in mindset from a national focus to really getting involved in local agendas. I feel it’s going well.
If you could make one change to the NHS and social care over the next 10 years, what would it be?
Integrating pharmacies into care pathways – I want to see community pharmacy become the health care hub for patients. We can use the way it’s already set out, the way it’s embedded in communities with a number of different outlets, and actually empower the public to be responsible for their own health.
Change from the top
If you could give Matt Hancock one piece of advice, what would it be?
Make better use of the community pharmacy network. Community pharmacy fits his prevention agenda like a glove on how we can help patients understand their health better.
What do you wish people at the top of the NHS understood?
Understand the extra things that we do on a daily basis, and how important the pharmacist/patient interaction is. We see patients on a daily or weekly basis, so we see when behaviours deteriorate. But apart from flagging things to a GP, there’s often nothing we can do – there’s nothing national that the community pharmacist can engage with.
Policy in practice
What policy have you seen successfully implemented, and why did it work?
A quality criteria scheme brought in in 2016 – it brought standardisation of many local frameworks and has been a massive policy success. It brought together separate pockets of things being done in areas and gave them a national platform.
What policy have you seen fail, or not be as successful as first intended?
The services-based pharmacy contract that was introduced in 2005 hasn’t developed as fast as we would have liked. It laid the foundation by introducing some services such as medicines use reviews, but pharmacies could be commissioned to provide a much wider range of services to help patients.
What policy and/or change in behaviour are you currently trying to implement, and how’s it going?
Nationally we are looking for pharmacies to work with GPs and offer more clinical services. The Long Term Plan builds on discussions we’ve already been having in terms of devolution. For years, we’ve said community pharmacists are an underutilised resource and this is a fantastic opportunity to realise that potential.
The NHS is under pressure because...
There hasn’t been enough focus on prevention.
*Aneet Kapoor is the chair of the Greater Manchester Local Pharmaceutical Committee.