Pharmacy chiefs have published their vision for the future of community pharmacy in the UK, laying out a new roadmap to radically enhance and expand personalised care, support and wellbeing services provided by the sector.
The overarching theme of The Community Pharmacy Forward Viewis to fully integrate pharmacy teams with other local health and care services to boost care quality and access for patients, increase NHS efficiency and secure better health outcomes.
With support from the RPS English Pharmacy Board, the document’s vision is centred on three key roles for the community pharmacy of the future: facilitating personalised care for people with long-term conditions; providing the first port of call for episodic healthcare advice and treatment; and offering the neighbourhood health and wellbeing hub.
Community pharmacy services should be radically enhanced and expanded help people obtain medicines safely and efficiently and use them as effectively as possible, it proposes. To achieve this, pharmacists and their teams will need to work in partnership each other, the people they support, and their colleagues across the wider health and care system to a variety of interventions and support to patients with LTCs. However, a new approach to funding will be necessary to enable pharmacy teams to work in this way, acceding to the report.
Elsewhere, Pharmacy Voice says it hopes that in future the habit of using or signposting to ‘pharmacy first’ for non-emergency episodic care will be ingrained in patient, public and professional behaviours. To facilitate this, systems that enable seamless triage to and referral from community pharmacy must be included in all local urgent care pathways and in the NHS 111 service, with personal health information available to pharmacists, who will be able to add to an individual’s shared care record.
Diagnostics and point-of-care testing should be routinely available in pharmacy settings as well as facilities for making appointments with or speaking directly to other professionals and service providers, and pharmacists will be able to prescribe, and to supply products to people as if they had received a prescription from a GP.
In future, all pharmacies will operate as neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres, “providing the ‘go-to’ location for support, advice and resources on staying well and independent.” As such, pharmacy teams will need to work closely with community leaders to identify and understand local assets and needs, develop related interventions and services, collect data on impact and outcomes and use this to continually improve their offer, the report notes.