In May 2009 the Company Chemists’ Association, National Pharmacy Association, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, NHS Alliance, and Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies jointly published two guides under the heading of ‘Maximising Health Gain through Community Pharmacy’. The guides – ‘10 High Impact Changes in PCT Commissioning Practice’ and ‘5 High Impact Changes for SHAs’ – have been produced to promote the role of pharmacists to commissioners, managers, general practitioners and others in primary care with the aim to influence the commissioning of pharmacy services by PCTs under world class commissioning and the integration of pharmacy into practice based commissioning (PBC).
The Pharmacy White Paper: Building on Strengths – Delivering the Future identifies the need for pharmacy skills to be used more widely and to make patients more aware of the services they provide. The government believes effective working relationships between healthcare professionals are important for the future development of services and strongly encourages and supports pharmacists to be active partners in collaboration with GPs.
The two publications provide up-to-date case studies and examples of best practice in how to work together and re-design services to maximise pharmacy involvement, and give simple practical suggestions for making it happen.
In a collective statement the pharmacy organisations stated that the objective for the two guides was three fold:
- to nurture collaborative approaches between PCT and practice based commissioners and local pharmacies
- to robustly promote the role of community pharmacists as frontline NHS clinicians,
- to highlight the valuable input pharmacists can make to both the commissioning and the provision of services through successful integration into primary care.
What does this mean to medicines management?
Encouraging a closer working relationship between pharmacists and the wider healthcare team, and supporting service re-design through world class commissioning to involve pharmacists could have a significant impact on the way medicine management supports patient-care. For example, making medicines management services more easily accessible to patients could offer valuable support for medicines adherence. For current services such as repeat dispensing and medicines use reviews to work effectively a close working relationship between pharmacists and GPs is needed, so that patients can benefit from improved access and safer use of their medicines.
One of the aims of the NPC improvement programme ‘Commissioning for Integrated Medicines Management (CIMM)’ focuses on supporting the better use of community pharmacy skills. The CIMM programme gives PCTs the opportunity to break down some of the barriers to new ways of working, encouraging the involvement of community pharmacy and supporting the re-design of services to make best use of pharmacy team skills. For more information on the CIMM programme and data for the national measures please click here.