Antibiotics in mouthThe Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and Pharmacy Voice, with support of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, have published their vision for the future of community pharmacy.

The Community Pharmacy Forward View sets out the sector’s ambitions to radically enhance and expand the personalised care, support and wellbeing services that community pharmacies provide. In the scenarios outlined in the document, pharmacy teams would be fully integrated with other local health and care services in order to improve quality and access for patients, increase NHS efficiency and produce better health outcomes for all.

It also sets out the organisations’ shared ambition for the sector, focused on three key roles for the community pharmacy of the future:

  • As the facilitator of personalised care for people with long-term conditions
  • As the trusted, convenient first port of call for episodic healthcare advice and treatment
  • As the neighbourhood health and wellbeing hub.
While the Forward View represents the sector’s vision for the future of community pharmacy they are now looking for the views of key stakeholders, including patient groups, pharmacy contractors, community pharmacists and members of pharmacy teams, local commissioners, other healthcare providers and the government. It is hoped this will help turn a shared vision for the sector into a reality that will be good for patients, the public, local communities and the NHS, as well as for the community pharmacy network and all those who work in it.

Commenting on the launch, Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC, said: “The Community Pharmacy Forward View describes how a thriving pharmacy network could effectively support the high performing, affordable health and care system envisaged in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

“The health and care system needs community pharmacy to play its part in improving the care of patients and helping people to stay healthy, so we hope that the Department of Health, NHS England and local service commissioners will positively engage with us to explore how this vision can inform the future commissioning of community pharmacy services.

“Community pharmacy contractors need a clear framework for how they are to support patients and the NHS in the future, so they can have confidence in developing their teams, resources and services, and ensure that they are able to provide the most cost effective support to their local communities, using their unique relationships and skills. We hope the NHS and Government will respond positively and will work with us to develop a contractual framework that provides this.”

Pharmacy Voice’s Chief Executive, Rob Darracott, said: “The Forward View, and the development of three key domains of practice, are our starter-for-ten. They may appear ambitious but all of the proposals are based on innovative work of community pharmacy teams across the country, that is happening right now. We want this best practice to become commonplace across the pharmacy network and we are committed to working with colleagues, partners and our stakeholders make this happen, starting with an achievable, aspirational and collective vision of the future.

“We want the Forward View to help create real consensus about the future role of community pharmacy in the delivery of wider healthcare services – in the midst of unprecedented pressure on both resources and demand. We urge the new Minister to engage with us on this vision when considering his next steps for our sector.”

Sandra Gidley, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board, added: “The RPS English Pharmacy Board supports the PSNC and Pharmacy Voice Forward View initiative as a way of resetting the debate about the future of community pharmacy. For many months pharmacists and their teams have faced uncertainty about the future, the Community Pharmacy Forward View is designed to provide a sense of direction for community pharmacy, from community pharmacy. We are committed to working with PSNC and Pharmacy Voice to make sure the views of patients the public as well as RPS members shape these proposals into practical changes that will improve care through making the most of community pharmacists skills.”

The announcement was also welcomed by the NHS Confederation. Kate Ravenscroft, Head of Policy and Research at the NHS Confederation, said: “Community pharmacy is a vital partner for the NHS, and this forward view report contains helpful ideas which are well worth exploring.

“It’s important to work together to maximise the potential of community pharmacy to help people stay as fit and healthy as possible for as long as possible, and provide a trusted, convenient first port of call for advice and treatment.”

Click here to access the Forward View