NPC Archive Item: Pharmacy White Paper – Pharmacy in England: Building on strengths – delivering the future

NOTE – This is an archive post from the NPC and has not been updated since first publication. Therefore, some hyperlinks may no longer be working.

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What is the background to this? – On the 3rd April 2008, the Department of Health published its long-awaited White Paper on Pharmacy in England. The document sets out a vision for building on the strengths of pharmacy as part of an overall strategy to ensure safe, effective, fairer and more personalised patient care. It focuses on the Government’s programme for a 21st century pharmaceutical service.

The paper is divided into chapters that include expanding access and choice through more help with medicines; pharmacy services supporting healthy living and better care; and improving communications and relationships.

It also includes an action plan describing how the Department of Health will monitor future progress on these commitments.

The pharmacy profession, prescribers, service managers, prescribing and medicines management leads, PBC groups, and commissioning leads, need to consider the proposals in the White Paper and to take action to ensure that pharmacy skills and services can be used to achieve the full potential of health benefits and outcomes for patients.

How does this relate to other publications or evidence?
The pharmacy White Paper builds on ‘A vision for pharmacy in the new NHS’ published in July 2003 and also integrates the contractual framework community pharmacy, which was implemented in April 2005.

The NPC has a long history of supporting healthcare professionals and NHS organisations to achieve improvements in prescribing and medicines management. Much of the learning arising from the NPC collaborative-style improvement programmes in Primary Care; Secondary Care; Community Pharmacy; and for long-term conditions, is reflected in the White Paper. A new NPC programme, which will commence in autumn of this year, will be the “Practice Based Commissioning Support Programme for Prescribing and Medicines Management”. This will have a strong emphasis on utilising the skills of community pharmacy to deliver patient-centred outcomes through developments in practice-based commissioning. Details of how to join this latest improvement programme will be available on the NPC website ( from early May.

If you haven’t already read the White Paper do so now. In particular focus on:

  • Annex 1: which highlights how pharmacy can contribute to health challenges, and

  • Annex 2: the action plan

If you would like to find out a little more about the basics of commissioning, or community pharmacy development, take a look at the corresponding NPCi floors in the medicines management section of NPCi

Item details
The pharmacy white paper and additional information is available for download at:

Documents and information on “World Class Commissioning” can be viewed at:

Information on the contractual framework for community pharmacy can be found at:

A vision for pharmacy in the new NHS” published in July 2003, can be viewed at:

NPC can be accessed at:

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