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Webb: To make most of ICB commissioning, pharmacy teams need to work differently

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David Webb, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, acknowledged that the “pressure in the system is high”, but urged everyone to “keep our eye on the design” of the NHS plan, adding that the “the objective is to bring the different parts of primary care together” in the patient interest.

Speaking during the opening keynote session at the the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) conference held on Thursday (13 October), he added that the NHS plan intends to bring different parts of primary care together to help patients.

He said the new integrated care boards (ICBs) are a key strategic framework as they provide the “potential to form partnerships to deliver integrated services across larger populations”.

“ICBs will want to work with Local Pharmaceutical Committees to plan for the local population and the new community pharmacy clinical leads in ICBs, who have been funded by NHS England, are there to advise.”

He explained that once an ICB takes over the commissioning of pharmaceutical services (which they are all due to do by April 2023), it could use its funds to commission a local enhanced service as an add on to an advanced service. For instance, a CVD risk assessment could be added to the blood pressure check service.

Webb also shared thoughts on where are we are heading, “By 2026, pharmacists will register as prescribers. We’re investing now in prescribing training for the existing community pharmacy workforce, enabling people to work absolutely at the top of their skill set,” he said.

“From January next year, I am looking to have some widespread pilots of independent prescribing across each region in England, so that pharmacists can actually start to demonstrate the value that they add into the system.”

Nicole Atkinson, Primary Care Medical Advisor at NHS Confederation who also spoke during the keynote session, commented: “No one expects world peace amongst all healthcare providers, but working together makes a huge difference. It’s a two-way street and pharmacists need to drive change at neighbourhood, place and system level.”

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