Pharmacists demand right to provide more healthcare services

Pharmacists have called for contract changes to allow them more opportunities to provide primary care services.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was responding to the King's Fund review of the NHS by Derek Wanless.

Society president Hemant Patel said: ‘Pharmacy can help deliver genuine improvements to the NHS in crucial areas such as medicines management and public health, and cost saving in areas like promoting generic prescribing.

‘There are also good examples of the NHS commissioning enhanced services, including minor ailments schemes, supporting smoking cessation and improving sexual health. However, the way in which these schemes are currently commissioned means that patients are receiving ‘postcode lottery' of pharmacy services.

He added: ‘Another stumbling block has been the NHS’s need to achieve financial balance, and the lack of synergy between the GP and community pharmacy contracts.

‘GPs are paid by right for services while community pharmacists have to persuade PCOs to commission them. When money is tight, PCOs have been cutting services that they’re not forced to fund.’

The society is now preparing a detailed response to the King's Fund report including evidence to show how pharmacy can help the NHS tackle the issues of spending and productivity.

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