The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, recently gave a speech on the newly elected Government’s priorities for the NHS:
- Prevention: because prevention is better than cure
- People: because we need more people working smarter
- Technology: because patients and clinicians demand better
- Infrastructure: because buildings matter too.
The following extract from the speech relates to Community Pharmacy and the prevention priority building on the Healthy Living Pharmacy foundations:
And we will also “unleash the potential” of our pharmacies because there really is so much more they are capable of doing.
Over the next 5 years, they will become the first port of call for patients with minor illnesses. More than 10,000 pharmacies are ready to receive referrals from other parts of the health service – and that number will grow.
The prevention agenda is incredibly important because prevention is better than cure. We also know the challenges the NHS faces: demand is rising faster than at any point in history. Baby-boomers are reaching the age where they need more and more healthcare.
So, as well as investing in infrastructure, we need to make the 2020s a decade of prevention of ill health:
- Support everyone to take more care of their own health. I don’t believe in the worried well – I want healthy people to be concerned about their own health so they stay healthy.
- Vaccinate against preventable diseases.
- Redouble our efforts to be smoke-free, redouble our efforts on obesity, and embed a more proactive, predictive and personalised approach across the NHS.
So what does this mean for community pharmacy? Whatever the colour of your politics, the fact that there is continued mention of the role that community pharmacy can play within an integrated NHS must be a positive. That focus has carried over from the NHS Plan, the Prevention Green Paper and the new CPCF into the newly elected Government’s plans for the next 5-years.
At a national level, building on the platform that the new CPCF provides, the first step is to deliver what is now in place whilst continuing negotiations to embed new services. This would mean that the currently unallocated funding (around £250 million) is accessible to all contractors and we must sort out the reimbursement mechanism following the recent consultation to make it more equitable for all.
At a local level, contractors, supported by their LPC, must engage more than ever before – firstly with each other and then with PCNs to ensure that they understand their needs and priorities. PCN Clinical Directors and all other health and care providers must also understand what pharmacy could offer to address their needs, particularly their real pain points. The skills of the identified PCN Community Pharmacy Leads will be crucial. This is why we created our award-winning portfolio of HLP support and launched our new Effective Engagement and Communication leadership programme which a number of LPCs have already embraced.
Apologies for plagiarising an over-used political phrase – Let’s get it done!