The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has written to Dominic Hardy, the director of primary care delivery at NHS England, urging him to ensure its design of primary care services is based on a multi-disciplinary approach including the work of pharmacies across the country.

As the government attempts to move care out of hospitals and into local communities, healthcare professions are being encouraged to work in collaboration to improve patient care in structures such as sustainability and transformation partnerships.

Through Primary Care Networks (PCNs), organisations are being urged to work in partnership to take on collective responsibility for resources and provide joined-up, co-ordinated care.

The RPS set out five considerations for PCNs. When it comes to patient and public involvement, it said it wanted to see all care provided person-centred and an early engagement with patients, carers and the public to co-design primary care services.

The professional leadership body also wants leadership drawn from all across primary care, including general practice, pharmacists working in the community, care homes, urgent care and other services such as dentists and opticians.

The value of medicines, the RPS said, should be recognised and it insisted the interoperability of data “is central to progress.”

The RPS added: “There needs to be adequate interoperability to enable information flows between all primary care professionals and with the wider health and social care systems.”

Finally, the RPS called for a bigger focus on prevention and support for self-care and self-management of long-term conditions.

English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley (pictured) said: “The NHS spent £17.4 billion on medicines in 2016/17. Ensuring patients and the health service get the most benefit from medicines should therefore be a key ambition of the NHS long-term plan.

“Whether it is Primary Care Networks or STPs, as local health leaders start working more closely together it will be crucial to make the most of the clinical knowledge of pharmacists to support patient safety and develop a system-wide approach to medicines optimisation.”

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