By Stephen Fishwick, head of communications, National Pharmacy Association

The scope of the new NHS 10-year plan will be wide-ranging, addressing priorities from ‘putting the patient at the heart of how we organise care’ to harnessing the power of innovation and empowering the healthcare workforce. There will also be a focus on prevention and achieving ‘true parity’ of care between mental and physical health.

Pharmacy has lots to offer in all these areas. That is why one of the acid tests of the long-term plan should be this: Come the NHS’s 80th birthday, 10 years from now, will the potential of the entire health and social care workforce have been realised – not only doctors and nurses but local pharmacists and many others too?

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There are so many ways you can save money when you offer a home delivery service, says Aberystwyth pharmacist Gary Jones, developer of the Pro Delivery Manager (PDM) app

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Will the recent NICE guidance, which focuses on how community pharmacies can help maintain and improve people’s physical and mental health, also focus the minds of NHS England and Public Health England? Mike Holden from Pharmacy Complete hopes so

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By Alexander Humphries

I am refreshed and raring to go after the summer holidays. Apart from the next six months being hellish regarding the comings and goings of staff as they continue their personal journeys of maternity leave, promotion, leavers and new starters, there is plenty to be optimistic about.

For a start, we apparently have a Secretary of State who wants to invest in pharmacy – at least until his civil servants get their hooks into him. This is something we haven’t had in a very long time. I feel optimistic, as I always have been, that Government and NHS England are running out of time and options for getting a grip on the health service.

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By NPA policy manager Helga Mangion

NOWADAYS it is easier than ever to access and share information and this raises expectations in terms of transparency and customer service. The performance of schools, the cleanliness of restaurants and MPs’ expenses are all available at the click of a mouse.

NHS Choices encourages patients to review their pharmacy, GP, dentist and other health providers online but, unlike these other providers, the pharmacy regulator does not currently publish its reports.

The GPhC consultation, ‘Developing our approach to regulating registered pharmacies’, reflects some of these issues. The NPA agrees with the principle of the publication of reports, provided they are not misleading to the public. Reports should contain only data that informs consumer decision-making, uncluttered by technical details that are useless for that purpose.

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By Steve Anderson, group managing director of Phoenix Uk

I appreciate that we will need to wait until the autumn statement to find out how the additional £20bn funding for the NHS will be allocated, but I support the efforts by the RPS and others to argue the case for a fair proportion to be channelled through community pharmacy in order to improve patient access to healthcare and reduce the strain on GPs and A&E departments.

We have seen the successful implementation of a care-based contractual model in Scotland and a recent commitment to increased funding there for community pharmacy.

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By Jeremy Holmes, former chief executive and registrar of the RPSGB.

One hundred and fifty years ago on July 31, the 1868 Pharmacy Act provided the foundations for what was to become the profession of pharmacy. At the time there was no such person as a “pharmacist” – there were either apothecaries (who eventually evolved into GPs) or chemists and druggists. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the legislation of 150 years ago.

The Act established many things we now take for granted, such as including the seller’s name and address on all drug packaging. It was also the first time the dispensing of poisons other than arsenic had been controlled.

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By Ross Ferguson

There is no doubt we need a discussion about the pharmacy team and the roles and responsibilities within it, so the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) report is probably to be welcomed. I say probably, because we haven’t actually seen the report, only what the PDA has chosen to release through its website in a well-controlled manner. Namely:

  • Pharmacy technicians don’t want to be responsible for supervising pharmacies
  • The PDA has raised concerns that the public may be potentially “confused or misled” about the capabilities of pharmacy technicians.

Unsurprisingly, all this has rankled what I assume is an already tense relationship with our pharmacy technician colleagues and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (UK) in particular.

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By Alexander Humphries*


A new member of staff recently asked me how some brown stains had come to mark the ceiling of the dispensary. It was odd, she said, because it is a very high ceiling.

I’ll tell you the story in a minute, but it got me thinking that sometimes it is difficult to explain how we got to a particular place as the evolution gets buried by layer upon layer of dust. The pharmacy contract is like this, built layer upon layer until it is almost unrecognisable from what it was intended to be at the outset.

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By Rob Darracott

This year’s pharmacy election season has not been a classic. Bad behaviour via social media in the RPS English Pharmacy Board election did not see the profession at its best. Without dwelling on the matters that led the Society’s chief executive to issue a post-election statement of disappointment, the online “debate” did cover one issue that deserves a fresh look: term limits.

In an election, incumbents have a clear advantage. It can be as simple as name recognition, but when you only need a few hundred votes, waxing lyrical about your “achievements” in office might be enough. Neophyte candidates can win – Thorrun Govind (EPB) and Reena Barai (NPA) both triumphed first time as strong female candidates, but individual successes are hardly cause for celebration unless they are followed by others.

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