HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 22 April 2016

NPA letter: Cameron ‘misled’ over pharmacy funding

21 April 2016, Chemist + Druggist, Beth Kennedy

 

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has written to David Cameron following the PM’s claim that the cuts to pharmacy funding will ensure the government gets “value for money”. NPA chair Ian Strachan claimed the Prime Minister was “poorly advised”, stating that the cuts could affect “some of the most vulnerable people in society”.

 

Community pharmacies offer excellent value says PSNC

21 April 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

PSNC has responded to the Prime Minister’s comment that pharmacy cuts would provide “value for money”. Chief Executive, Sue Sharpe, stated that community pharmacies are the front line that keep people out of A&E and GP surgeries. She further stated that funding to community pharmacy has not risen alongside the increases to the funding to the NHS overall.

 

GP surgeries could employ an extra 1,500 pharmacists with £112m investment

21 April 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Elizabeth Sukkar

 

An extra 1,500 pharmacists could work in GP surgeries by 2020 after a funding boost of £112m into GP surgeries. ‘General Practice Forward View’ states the success of future general practice will rely on the expansion of the wider non-medical workforce, including pharmacists.

 

Further commentary on ‘General Practice Forward View’ is reported in The National Pharmacy AssociationPharmacy Biz and Pharmacy Voice.

 

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Community pharmacies offer excellent value says PSNC

21 April 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

PSNC has questioned a statement made by Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament that there had been “a massive increase in pharmacy spending” over the past five years, and as a result a need to see “value for money in pharmacy”.

 

“It is not accurate to say that there has been a massive increase in pharmacy spending over the past five years. The global sum distributed to community pharmacies has grown significantly slower than inflation and rising volumes of prescriptions. It has also grown slower than overall funding for the NHS. Community pharmacies provide excellent value for money to the NHS,” said PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe.

 

PSNC has urged David Cameron to reconsider his plans for community pharmacy, and the National Pharmacy Association has written a letter asking that an “early opportunity” is taken to “correct on record the misinformation” given to Parliament.

 

The Prime Minister’s comments followed a question from Sue Hayman, Labour MP for Workington, who asked whether the Government would support independent pharmacies which she said were a vital lifeline for rural communities and helped keep high streets alive.

 

Mr Cameron said: “As we make sure that as much of the NHS’s resources go to the front line – the doctors and the nurses and the operations and the A&E that we want to see carried out – we’ve got to see value for money in pharmacy while at the same time protecting the rural pharmacies.”

Responding to the comments, Sue Sharpe said: “The Prime Minister could have taken the opportunity to recognise the excellent, front-line work carried out every day in community pharmacies all over the country and to welcome PSNC’s recent counter-proposals for the pharmacy contract. It seems, however, that Mr Cameron was poorly briefed by his officials. Community pharmacies are at the front-line of healthcare. Community pharmacies are the front line that keep people out of A&E and GP surgeries.”

 

NPA’s chairman Ian Strachan wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister: “You have also apparently been misinformed about the level of investment in community pharmacy in recent years. I suspect that your comment about a massive increase in pharmacy spending actually refers to the medicines budget (the drugs bill) rather than the cost of providing pharmaceutical care in pharmacies. The medicines budget is indeed rising steeply, and community pharmacists have great potential to help the taxpayer get better value from that expenditure – by helping patients to get the best use of their medicines and reducing medicines waste.”

 

PSNC continues to discuss its counter-proposals with the Department of Health and NHS England, said Ms Sharpe.

 

GP surgeries could employ an extra 1,500 pharmacists with £112m investment

21 April 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Elizabeth Sukkar

 

An extra 1,500 pharmacists could be working in GP surgeries by 2020, after a funding boost of £112m by NHS England.

 

The announcement forms part of a plan to invest a further £2.4bn a year in general practice services by 2020–2021, with investment rising from £9.6bn a year in 2015–2016 to £12.0bn a year in 2020–2021. It aims to expand the number of GPs by 5,000 and drive up the numbers of other supporting primary healthcare professionals.

 

“The creation of… new jobs for pharmacists, in an era of austerity where value must be proven rather than assumed, shows a strong commitment to the profession from the very top of NHS England,” says Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Pharmacy Board.

 

The plan comes five months after the government announced cuts to the pharmacy contract of £170m, which could lead to the closure of up to 3,000 pharmacies.

 

‘General Practice Forward View’, published on 21 April 2016, says the success of future general practice will rely on the expansion of the wider non-medical workforce, including nurses, pharmacists and practice managers, to a minimum of 5,000 extra staff by 2020–2021.

 

Specifically, NHS England wants to expand pharmacists working in GP surgeries to “enable every practice to access a clinical pharmacist across a minimum population on average of 30,000 – leading to an extra 1,500 pharmacists in general practice”.

 

It notes that “appetite” for a £31m pilot – where 470 pharmacists will work in more than 700 GP practices over the next three years – “was high”.

 

“We will need to learn more from the evaluation but early indications suggest clinical pharmacists may have a role in streamlining practice prescription processes, medicines optimisation, minor ailments and long term conditions management.”

 

It adds: “We will roll this out further across the country over the next five years, so that every practice can benefit.”

 

The plan also says NHS England will open up the clinical pharmacist training programme to practices that have directly funded a clinical pharmacist.

 

The RPS says pharmacists in GP surgeries will be able to support better working between GPs, hospital pharmacists and community pharmacists, and the transfer of patient care.

 

“Let me be 100% clear, the RPS believes that when it comes to pharmacists working in GP surgeries and pharmacists working in community pharmacies it is a case of ‘more’, and not ‘either, or’,” says Gidley.

 

“GPs want to work alongside pharmacists, for pharmacists to be part of the team, alongside nurses, mental health workers and others. I know that many pharmacists, from all sectors, want this too – and now there is an opportunity for many more pharmacists to consider this option alongside more established roles.”

 

Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), says: “Sustained investment in local pharmacies would be a far bigger stride towards opening up access and creating a world class health service.”

 

He adds: “The community pharmacy network has to remain the core of pharmaceutical care in the community. There is already a highly qualified workforce in local pharmacies right across the country and a well established infrastructure for delivering care in those settings. Community pharmacies are a ready-made solution on the health service front line, close to where people live, work and shop.”

 

The NPA says investment in services such as a national minor ailments scheme in community pharmacies would help improve access to GPs. Much of the routine management of treatment for people with long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes should also be transferred to community pharmacies – giving GPs more time to meet complex care needs for these groups, the NPA adds.

 

The NHS England report also mentions the introduction of the pharmacy integration fund, which was proposed as part of the government’s plans for the community pharmacy sector. It will be worth £20m in 2016–2017 and this will increase by an additional £20m each year to help transform how pharmacists and community pharmacy work as part of NHS, the report says.

 

The RPS says the integration fund should not be used to directly employ pharmacists in GP surgeries. It would like to see it being used to ensure better access to pharmacists’ expertise across all care settings.

 

The Royal College of General Practitioners describes the GP plan as “perhaps the most significant piece of news for our profession since the 1960s – and a clear recognition of the value of general practice for patients and the NHS”.

 

Local pharmacies are solution to a world class NHS, say sector leaders

21 April 2016, NPA

 

Responding to NHS England plans to put more pharmacists in GP practices, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) says that sustained investment in local pharmacies would be a far bigger stride towards creating a world class health service.

 

More than a million patients a day use community pharmacies for medical reasons.

Amongst the plans in The General Practice Forward View, published today, is a commitment to co-fund an extra 1500 practice clinical pharmacists to work in GP surgeries.

 

NPA Chairman, Ian Strachan, said:

“There is already a highly qualified workforce in local pharmacies right across the country and a well established infrastructure for delivering care in those settings. Community pharmacies are a ready-made solution on the health service front line, close to where people live, work and shop. Pharmacies are trusted by patients because they have been at the heart of the community for years. Pharmacies help vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes for longer.  They are generally more accessible and convenient for patients than doctor surgeries.”

 

Investment in services such as a national Minor Ailments Scheme in community pharmacies would help free up access to GPs, says the NPA.  Treating minor ailments such as coughs and sore throats cost the NHS an extra £1.1 billion a year when patients are treated at A&E or GP practices rather than community pharmacies. Much of the routine management of treatment for people with long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes should also be transferred to community pharmacies – freeing up GPs to meet complex care needs for these groups.

 

NHS Chief Simon Stevens said the NHS would earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for general practice services by 2020/21.

 

In contrast, the Department of Health recently announced £170 million cuts to funding for pharmacies in England and has admitted that as many as 3000 pharmacies could close.

 

NHS England pledges millions to create roles for pharmacists in GP practices

21 April 2016, Pharmacy Biz

 

NHS England has pledged to invest £112 million to create new roles for pharmacists working in GP surgeries as it attempts to improve patient care.

 

The funding is part of a £2.4 billion rescue package designed to take the strain off under-pressure doctors, revenue that will fund 5,000 more GPs and other staff within surgeries, including pharmacists. There will be an extra 1,500 pharmacists in practices over the next five years.

 

The money is on top of the £31 million NHS England has invested to co-fund 450 pharmacist roles in general practice.

 

“It was only just over a year ago we began a campaign with the Royal College of GPs to ensure every GP practice had access to a pharmacist as part of the practice team,” said Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board.

 

“Sometimes I am challenged as to how effective the RPS is in achieving the ambitions we have for the profession. I would hope today’s announcement will leave no doubt that we are an organisation that can deliver real and lasting improvements for the profession and patient care.

 

“The creation of around 2,000 new jobs for pharmacists, in an era of austerity where value must be proven rather than assumed, shows a strong commitment to the profession from the very top of NHS England.

 

“GPs want to work alongside pharmacists, for pharmacists to be part of the team, alongside nurses, mental health workers and others. I know that many pharmacists, from all sectors, want this too – and now there is an opportunity for many more pharmacists to consider this option alongside more established roles.”

 

 

Pharmacy Voice statement on GP Forward View

21 April 2016, Pharmacy Voice

 

When Community Pharmacy is midway through a consultation on a funding cut of more than 6%, today’s announcement from NHS England of a significant financial investment into GPs will feel very hard to swallow.

 

As we have seen so many times in the past, the General Practice Forward View does not simply place GPs at the centre of the primary care system but implies that they are the only meaningful providers of first contact care and advice and ongoing community-based support for patients.  As a result, NHS England’s increase in ‘primary care’ investment in fact sits entirely with GPs. This ignores and undermines the crucial role played by community pharmacy team members and many other dedicated healthcare professionals working in primary care.  If we are to meet the challenges of increasing demand, resource constraints and changing public expectations, the emphasis should be on strengthening cooperation and integration across primary care.  This will not be achieved by investing in one end of the system, while making cuts elsewhere.

 

In the document NHS England recognises that pharmacists are ‘one of the most underutilised professional resource in the system.’ We agree wholeheartedly with this statement and underline that this includes the thousands of pharmacists and other pharmacy team members delivering excellent patient care in the community, where there is great potential to strengthen primary care provision.  It would be a mistake to try to resolve this underutilisation of professional expertise by just placing a pharmacist in every GP practice, particularly at this stage when the pilot programme has yet to be evaluated. Having a pharmacist in a GP surgery is one model that may be beneficial, but there are many other ways to enhance patient care. For example, through using pharmacy teams in the community, or by properly integrating the care across pathways, so that the skills of all those patients access are utilised to the full benefit of patients.

 

Moves to change rules and allow NHS England to fund up to 100% of premises developments in general practice will also shock and frustrate community pharmacy business owners; these concessions that community pharmacy never sees are made to another NHS-funded providers. At the same time, the huge value that the NHS derives from private investment in the existing community pharmacy estate is overlooked, and the opportunity to use this infrastructure even more effectively to expand access to primary care is missed.

 

The General Practice Forward View references the Pharmacy Integration Fund. As we have discussed with NHS England, Pharmacy Voice believes that the proposed Pharmacy Integration Fund is an opportunity to build, test, refine, grow and embed innovative approaches to making better use of the community pharmacy network. This may include work on medicines optimisation initiatives, new models of pharmacy-based care and integrating community pharmacy into urgent care networks.  We’re ready to work this up right now; given that general practice is about to get a £2.4bn bump, none of the Integration Fund needs to be diverted into GP accounts.  If the Minister believes in community pharmacy, and he says he does, then he needs to make sure that that money, at least, is used to support integration of the community pharmacy.

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