There are currently around 11,000 community (high-street) pharmacies in England. As well as safely dispensing medicines to millions of patients, they already provide clinical services like advice for minor ailments and reviewing medicines. It has long been recognised that there is potential for these pharmacies and their highly clinically trained staff to do more to support patient care, the wellbeing of local communities and the wider NHS. But progress has at time been slow. Funding, capacity and workforce issues have been barriers - and the sector needs a clear strategic pathway for the future.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, soon to be re-named Community Pharmacy England, represents the interests of all NHS community pharmacists. It has commissioned the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund to develop a vision and strategic options for community pharmacy which will inform the strategy for the community pharmacy sector in England going forwards. Our two organisations will work closely with the sector itself to map out what can be achieved and how.
Why it's important
Community pharmacists are well placed to help solve some of the biggest health problems facing people in this country: improving population health, preventing sickness, and helping general practice deal with the intense need for its services. The recent Fuller Review set out the importance of connecting community pharmacy services into urgent care systems, and identified examples of ways in which pharmacists might contribute to cancer screening and early diagnosis.
But although reviews – some by the Nuffield Trust – have said for years that the NHS need to make more use of the capabilities of community pharmacy, progress has been very slow. If new types of service are going to be offered to every patient who could benefit anywhere, rather than in local pockets, then we need to understand the blockages which have held progress back in the past, and how to solve them.
What we'll do
Our research programme will include:
- Reviewing previous research relating to community pharmacy services.
- Conducting interviews with stakeholders including patients, pharmacists themselves, commissioners and policymakers.
- Reviewing models of community pharmacy in other countries, and talking to international experts.
- Facilitating discussions on service models, funding, digital and workforce issues.
There will also be an open consultation in late 2022 to draw on views and perspectives from across the sector.
The project has been commissioned and funded by PSNC. It is intended to closely inform a strategy for the community pharmacy sector they represent, which they will draw up in 2023, and to provide ideas and ambitions for negotiations between them and the Government. Our report will be entirely independent and will be published by the Nuffield Trust and our research partners, The King’s Fund.
We will be supported by a Steering Group with representatives from across the industry, and by a wider Advisory Panel.
Following extensive testing with leaders and experts in community pharmacy, and representatives of patients and the government, we will publish a final report in June 2023. This will look at how national bodies and local Integrated Care Boards could work with community pharmacy to realise the vision of delivering more clinical care. It will include examining the key enabling factors of workforce, IT, commissioning and funding, with an assessment of progress and recommendations for the future.
The project began in October 2022, and a final report will be published in summer 2023.
For further information please contact email@example.com