Sandra Gidley has been elected as the new president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called on the government to ensure pharmacists across all settings are involved in the development of local healthcare leadership under the NHS 10-year plan.

Laying out its response to NHS England’s (NHSE) plans, pharmacy’s professional leadership body said it wanted NHSE “to make the most of the pharmacy workforce to support patient care” amid concerns community pharmacists are finding it difficult to establish themselves on local health structures.

Many have reported they have found it tough to make inroads with clinical commissioning groups and 55% of 43 local pharmaceutical committees who responded to a survey this year by Pharmacy Business said their sustainability and transformation partnership was not interested in community pharmacy.

The RPS also called for medicines optimisation to be integrated “throughout the health and care system” and investment in foundation training to improve post-registration professional development.

“The clinical knowledge of pharmacists will be central to realising NHS England’s ambition on improving patient safety and reducing medication errors,” said English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley (pictured).

“With £17.4 billion spent on medicines in 2016/17, ensuring patients and the NHS receive the most benefit from medicines should be a key aim of the NHS Long-Term Plan.”

She added: “Pharmacists are ideally-placed to help people stay well, including through tackling obesity and smoking. The health secretary has highlighted prevention as one of his priorities and we need to get serious about investing in the services we know can make a difference to helping people stay healthy and out of hospital.

“We know that community pharmacy can play an increasing role in supporting people with long-term conditions and, as we ask pharmacists to do more, we must also see greater investment in foundation training and professional development.

“Whatever comes out of the NHS long-term plan, it will be crucial for health leaders to engage with pharmacists locally as they develop health and care services for the future.”