Now or Never: Shaping pharmacy for the future
highlights that people across England should expect pharmacists to offer far more than just medicines.
Key points of the report
- Pharmacists must provide direct patient care in the location that is most convenient for the patient.
- 58% of those over 60 suffer from at least one long-term condition (LTC).
LTCs risk being unmanageable without a significant change to the way care is provided - pharmacists can be integral to this change.
- The NHS needs to make the most of the third largest health profession. Numbers of pharmacists continue to increase as numbers of GPs and nurses decreases.
- Urgent care is under significant pressure. Community pharmacists could provide an alternative triage point for many of the common ailments currently dealt with by out-of-hours services and Accident and Emergency departments.
Vision for the future
Pharmacists must become more visible, providing pro-active patient care in the location that is most convenient for the patient.
Medicines must still be supplied from pharmacies but to enable pharmacists to take on new roles in patient services, especially in community or 'high street' pharmacies, pharmacists should delegate the technical function of dispensing to specially trained pharmacy staff.
The technical dispensing of the medicine can be done by other trained members of the pharmacy team, and where skill mix is used effectively alongside technical innovation, this has the potential to release pharmacists' time to provide other services.
An increase in pharmacists capacity to provide other services focused on patient care would include care of people with long-term conditions, the management of medicines for people taking multiple drugs, the provision of advice for minor ailments, and the delivery of public health services.