Better relationships are needed between GPs and community pharmacists for DoH plans to extend the role of pharmacies to succeed.
In the Pharmacy White Paper, published last week, the DoH pushed for a range of traditional GP roles to be offered in pharmacies in England.
Not only will community pharmacists become involved in vascular checks for those aged 40-74, the DoH announced, they will also help manage long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension, give flu jabs and provide advice for minor ailments such as the common cold, and issue repeat scrips.
Tests for chlamydia, and potentially other STIs, computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and lifestyle advice on smoking and alcohol use could also be offered.
The DoH plans for a 50 per cent transfer of these roles to pharmacists within three years.
Last year, the All Party Pharmacy Group reported that professional relationships were strained, and recommended that PCTs help foster better moods between the two professions locally.
NHS Employers is to set up a working group with the GPC and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to try to ensure good working relationships.
RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said he supported an extended role for pharmacists, but raised concerns it could lead to fragmentation of care for long-term conditions.
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