As we continue to work our way through a pandemic and all that means to the day-to-day operational pressures of pharmacy practice, the Government and NHS England are looking ahead to 2022 with enabling legislation to further integrate local health and care through a new White Paper now backed up by a new Health and Care Bill. With it comes wide-ranging changes and powers which will impact on pharmacy at a national and local level.
Primary Care Networks (PCNs) will increasingly becoming the building block of out-of-hospital care at the so-called ‘neighbourhood’ level. Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) will have delegated powers for primary care services with a single pot of funding to commission health and public health services, including pharmacy services, at the ‘system level’ with the planned demise of CCGs. Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs) influence on their local ICS, and Community Pharmacy’s relationship with PCNs will therefore be critical to its future.
So what does this mean? The skills to effectively engage, communicate with and influence ICSs and PCNs will be key – we have to be in it to win it! This is not about selling what pharmacy does, it’s about effective influencing and creating the opportunity to ‘buy’ from community pharmacy. At the same time, community pharmacy must redefine and reposition its core purpose as community-based health clinics which also supply medicines safely and efficiently.
These changes in the healthcare landscape will also impact on the current review of pharmacy representation and support. There is a need for greater alignment of LPCs with ICSs and improved support for Pharmacy PCN Leads in addition to the appropriate resourcing of PSNC to negotiate a better CPCF.
To date Pharmacy Complete have worked with LPCs across England to develop over 400 Pharmacy PCN Leads. Initially through face-to-face workshops then from the start of the first lockdown by utilising web-based technologies and blended learning to transfer the required knowledge and skills. This has inspired and enabled Pharmacy PCN Leads to not only engage with their PCN, but also with fellow contractors in their area. That collaborative approach across contractors at a local level is as important, if not more so, as it is at a national level.
Our Effective Engagement and Communication leadership development programme is designed to provide Pharmacy PCN Leads and others in local leadership positions with the capabilities to maximise the positive impact they can have and be ready for a more integrated local health care system.
The healthcare landscape is changing so pharmacy must adapt. The future is local.