New guidance to help primary care homes integrate with pharmacies

Guidance from the NAPC calls for greater integration of community pharmacy and general practice through its 'primary care home' model, to improve patients' health and empower them to self care.

Dr James Kingsland (Photo: Alex Deverill)
Dr James Kingsland (Photo: Alex Deverill)

Guidance published on Wednesday describes pharmacies as ‘neighbourhood health and wellbeing hubs’, and looks at how pharmacists' skills can be used better alongside primary care homes - particularly when it comes to the management of long-term conditions and episodic healthcare advice and treatment.

The primary care home model championed by the NAPC aims to integrate primary care services withihn local areas - and has now been rolled out to more than 200 sites in England, covering 8m people.

The NAPC guidance sets out key points to ensure that pharmacists' skills are incorporated into the model from the start. It calls for primary care homes to engage with local pharmaceutical committees and recommends tools to build partnership working, workforce strategies and patient involvement.

Primary care integration

NAPC president Dr James Kingsland said: 'Through the primary care home model, we want to take joint working much further so that community pharmacies are integral to supporting the health and care needs of their local population. Our aim is to bring all the primary care contractor services together within a primary care home to come up with innovative solutions to the current challenges facing the NHS.'

Pharmacists' leaders called the advice a 'starting point' to build greater integration between pharmacy and general practice.

With GP workloads at an all-time high and multimorbidity cases on the rise, such an approach could help relieve some of the pressures faced by general practice.

Director of NHS services for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, Alastair Buxton, said: ‘The primary care home model is at the heart of NHS plans to support the sustainability of general practice and the development of fully integrated primary care services.

‘I hope local pharmaceutical committees and PCH sites will use this guidance to kick start better collaborative working between community pharmacies and general practices, for the ultimate benefit of patients and the NHS.’

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