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London’s local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) have come together to launch a community pharmacy offer to keep Londoners healthy.

The Pharmacy Strategy 2020, launched today (September 17) by Pharmacy London – a representative body of London LPCs, sets out a “panoply of healthcare services” to be provided locally and on the high streets across the boroughs of London.

Speaking via a pre-recorded video message, pharmacy minister Jo Churchill announced that the General Practice Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (GP CPCS) would be rolled out from November.

Pharmacy first

“We want to encourage more people to think pharmacy first and visit or contact their local pharmacy as their first point of call for minor illnesses or advice on staying healthy,” she told about 200 pharmacy professionals who were in attendance at the online event supported by the National Pharmacy Association.

Calling it “rightly ambitious,” Churchill said the strategy echoed “the ambition of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework’s five-year deal.”

“I believe that this new strategy will see Londoners benefit from the best possible health and wellbeing care, supported by community pharmacy at the heart of primary care.”

Admitting that funding was “of acute concern to community pharmacy,” she said that the government was actively discussing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) on addressing additional funding for expenses incurred by contractors as a result of Covid-19.

“We are also carefully considering the other representations (from PSNC) on how we can further support community pharmacy, so they can carry on delivery,” she added.

Giving details on the strategy, one of its authors and chair of Pharmacy London, Raj Matharu, said: “While the strategy was begun last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has really highlighted the importance of this offer; community pharmacy has mobilised to provide an accessible healthcare ‘front door’ for all Londoners.”

In the changing health and social care landscape, London’s community pharmacists have identified an array of service enhancements that include advising on common ailments with enlarged services to support clinical consultations, immunisations, and screening and diagnostic models of care.

Pharmacy 2020 determines a new model that sustains the convention of dispensing medicines, while creating a new partnership dynamic in modelling new services that secure wellbeing and promote good health.

The strategy captures the place around 1,860 community pharmacies occupy in the lives of Londoners and puts it at the disposal of health and social care commissioners in the interests of cooperation and collaboration to benefit the patient community.

Hemant Patel, secretary of the North East London LPC, and a co-author, says:  “This strategy is first and foremost about London and its citizens; it illustrates what community pharmacy has been doing on their behalf, and can do in the future, as part of world-class healthcare service.

“However, it is also about how we commission and manage services; securing the best outcomes for patients and the best value from the money we invest in healthcare in the capital.”

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