The new pharmacy contract has just been released, outlining a 5-year investment plan for community pharmacy.
This deal has secured yearly funding of £2.592billion, equating to nearly £13 billion over the next 5 years, which is more than what was originally planned and a great opportunity for pharmacy to showcase what the profession can do. The agreement recognises the use of the clinical expertise within pharmacy teams and how we can add value in the long-term NHS plan.
Key elements of this plan are as follows:
- Recognising the critical role community pharmacies play as a health prevention hub within their local communities, by April 2020 all community pharmacies must be a Level 1 Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP).
- Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) will be gradually phased out by end of 2020/2021 whilst enhanced structured medicine use reviews by clinical pharmacists working within Primary Care Networks will be introduced.
- A new service called the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service will be introduced to support patient with minor illnesses to use community pharmacy as their first point of call.
- Payments through the Pharmacy Access scheme will continue to supports pharmacies in isolated areas who may dispense lower numbers of prescriptions
- A new pathway of service known as Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS) will be implemented. This will mean that patients can be referred to a pharmacy by the 111 service instead of taking up an appointment with an urgent care GP.
- Pharmacy teams have been identified as a possible way to implement prevention and detection services such as detecting undiagnosed CVD.
- Routine patient monitoring, such as for those who are on oral contraceptives, may be done increasingly in pharmacies.
The success of existing HLPs has no doubt led to the roll-out to all pharmacies across the country and underlines the important role Health Champions and Leaders play in improving the health of their local communities.