The Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) provide an opportunity to break the silo mentality in the health and care sector, National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chair Andrew Lane told MPs.
While giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee on 6 December about the effectiveness of ICSs, Lane also poured cold water on newspaper reports that community pharmacists will be drafted in to break the NHS strike, as he reiterated the call for a “properly costed and funded environment.”
“We’ve been in different silos historically and ICSs are an opportunity to pull all systems together for the benefit of patients,” he told committee members.
Lane pointed to dementia-trained pharmacy delivery drivers and the Discharge Medicines Service as instances where the influence of community pharmacy already stretches beyond primary care into hospitals and social care.
“We’ve seen pharmacists prescribe and get UTIs off doctors’ desks, so we are starting to release capacity [in the system] and we’re on that clinical journey. We welcome that, but it has to be with the right level of funding,” he added.
Responding to a question from Steve Brine MP, the recently appointed chair of the committee, Lane said NPA members found the leadership of ICSs across the country as ‘extremely patchy’ and emphasised that Local Pharmaceutical Committees have an important role to play in supporting community pharmacy integration within local systems.
The panel also included Rob Darracott, editor of P3 Pharmacy magazine, who described examples of service innovations that suggested ICSs were starting to see pharmacy as an opportunity to deliver services, whether from a single location or from a small network across a locality.
“Scratch the surface anywhere and you will find a community pharmacy doing something that makes you say ‘wow, I never knew they could do that’,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the committee also heard evidence from other health care bodies such as the NHS Providers, Association of Directors of Public Health, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, National Care Forum, Royal College of Psychiatrists and British Medical Association.