Pharmacy Business Conference 2018 was themed around digital technology

BY MIKE HOLDEN

Save the date – Thursday, 26 September 2019.

On the day of the prestigious Pharmacy Business Awards & Dinner event brought together every year to celebrate the best of community pharmacy, Pharmacy Business magazine will be holding its fourth annual conference at the same venue in London.

The conference brings together award-winning community pharmacists and stakeholders to showcase how pharmacy can make a difference to people’s health and lives and create a sustainable future by adapting to the evolving needs of the consumers and commissioners of our services.

NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS in England is set for transformation as the Long Term Plan is put into place over the next decade to ensure the NHS is fit for purpose in the future. The plan’s key aims are to:

  • ensure everyone gets the best start in life;
  • deliver world-class care for major health problems; and
  • support people to age well.

The plan comes with an additional £20 billion of funding by 2023/24. Some £4.5 billion of this is ring-fenced for primary and community care to fund a new service model in which patients get more options, better support, and properly joined-up care at the right time in the optimal care setting.

The transition from Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to around 44 Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) together with the establishment of up to 1000 Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are key agents in this new service model. PCNs will consist of a grouping of GP practices within a coherent geographical area, typically covering a population of 30-50,000 patients; however, these can be as large as or even exceed 100,000 patients.

Over the coming years, PCNs will be supported in developing an expanded primary care team, with member practices working alongside other organisations such as Community Trusts, Community Pharmacies and the voluntary sector.

This expanded team initially includes a Pharmacist and a Social Prescribing Link Worker. First Contact Physiotherapists, Physician’s Associates and Community Paramedics will all be added to the team in the future. There will also be the opportunity to build the pharmacy team further, with potentially up to six Pharmacists or Pharmacy Technicians operating across a PCN by 2024. This additional resource may come from GP practices, Community Pharmacy, Hospitals and CCGs.

There will be an increased focus on prevention and health inequalities to support people to stay healthy and moderate demand on the NHS. The plan sets out specific actions to reduce smoking, support people with mental illness and improve uptake of screening and early cancer diagnosis. There is also a focus on workforce development (The People Plan) and a wide-ranging programme to upgrade technology and digitally enabled care across the NHS.

What is your long-term plan?

Whilst there are many elements to the plan, the NHS makes a clear commitment that Pharmacists have an essential role to play in its delivery, demonstrating greater ambition for the profession than we have seen in previous policy initiatives. Pharmacy owners must take the lead to develop a successful healthcare business for the future, no-one else can do this for you. The door is open, it is up to us all to walk through it ready, willing and able before it closes.

Meanwhile, negotiations are taking place on a new contractual framework for community pharmacy with a focus on:

  • Urgent care and minor illness
  • Prevention and public health
  • Supporting medicines optimisation and safety
  • A revised reimbursement system

Will there be any more money for dispensing medicines? – very unlikely with more funding moving into the services above.

The future is local and that is where opportunities and how any new funding will flow. You must also look outside of NHS and Public Health funding to develop a sustainable business through private services, self-care and self-treatment to meet the needs of your local population and community.

Being prepared for these changes will be key to your sustainable future. Critical success factors will include:

  • creating and sharing a clear vision for your business
  • building and executing an effective business plan
  • developing the right skill-mix and ethos in your team
  • engaging with local pharmacies, other providers and commissioners
  • embracing technology
  • promoting your business effectively
  • delivering a differential and optimum customer experience.

At the Pharmacy Business Conference you will hear from the NHS what they want from community pharmacy within an integrated health and care system. Owners of independent pharmacies will share with you their vision and journey for their businesses across vaccination services, self-care, community engagement and prevention. Our stakeholder panel will reflect on the key elements of the day and your questions. Make sure you are there to hear, participate and learn.

Mike Holden, principal associate at Pharmacy Complete, will be chairing the Pharmacy Business Conference 2019.

This article also appears in the July issue of Pharmacy Business.

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