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‘Pharmacy engagement in ICSs will be vital’

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Community pharmacy should be involved in key decisions in neighbourhoods and systems to help reduce workload and increase patient access, a roundtable organized by the National Pharmacy Association to discuss a recent review on primary care integration has concluded.

The NPA said it would be sending the recently published report on the roundtable to local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) and other local pharmacy leaders as a tool to help them engage with Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) which will become statutory bodies from July 1.

The ‘Fuller Stocktake: Community Pharmacy Roundtable’ report, published on June 13 by the NPA, is based on a meeting hosted by the association on behalf of the NHS team running a key review of primary care integration, the so-called ‘Fuller Stocktake’.

NPA integration lead, Michael Lennox, said: “The NPA recognizes the critical importance of our LPC network colleagues being there for contractors at the 42 local systems level and influencing to fulfil the laudable ambitions of the Fuller Report.

“We ensured that community pharmacy voices were heard in the stocktake process and now that conversation needs to be amplified locally.”

One of the NHS officials who attended the roundtable told participants at the meeting held on 14 March: “You shouldn’t have to fight your way into the right conversations and the right tables to sit around to influence decision making and for the wider NHS to really leverage your considerable skills and expertise…

“We don’t want to leave it to chance that community pharmacy is in the right conversations. If that was the case, then I would consider the [Fuller] work to have failed.”

The discussions in the roundtable ranged across prevention, urgent and complex care. Some of its broad recommendations to Integrated Care Systems include:

  • Working at scale to best target and serve patients and make every contact count
  • Ensuring true parity between the pharmacy sector, wider primary care and across the system
  • Supporting and remunerate the training and development of community pharmacists/pharmacy leaders
  • Recognizing the critical enablers of data, digital, training & education, and leadership opportunities
  • Keeping community pharmacy involved in future decisions and planning at system level

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