By Ross Ferguson

Something that caught the eye of many colleagues in England was the announcement that the Scottish Government was providing dedicated funding for the Additional Cost of Teaching (ACT) of experiential learning (EL) for pharmacy undergraduates for 2018-19.

The hope is that this fantastic and pragmatic initiative will not only reimburse the costs involved, but that it will help to expand and enhance the quality of EL in hospital, community and primary care.

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By Alexander Humphries*

As I write this I am sitting in my bunker surrounded by boxes of stock. I know we have been told not to stockpile but to my mind it is a case of ‘needs must’ for my patients...

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By Jeremy Meader, managing director of Numark

Does NHS England or the Department of Health and Social Care recognise and appreciate fully the contribution of community pharmacy?

We all know the answer to that, but actually it is the wrong question. What we need to ask is how we can change that dynamic, move forward and secure a future that is financially sustainable, improves outcomes for patients and demonstrably helps the NHS address the huge challenges it faces.

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By Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Welsh Government

Independent community pharmacy understands the needs of communities because it is part of those communities – but there are very real threats to its future.

These threats are not from governments, automation, hub-and-spoke, changes in supervision, or clinical pharmacists in GP practices – believe it or not, these are opportunities. The threats don’t even come from Brexit.

The real threat is a change in consumer behaviour and a failure of pharmacies to adapt to that change. We are mistaken if we believe citizens will continue to access pharmacies in the same way and for the same reasons they do now.

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By NPA policy manager Helga Mangion

The Government has said ‘prevention is better than cure’ will be at the heart of the NHS Long-Term Plan. A key goal will be to improve healthy life expectancy by at least five extra years by 2035 and to close the gap between the richest and poorest.

That closely resembles one of the acid tests the NPA recently set out for the Long-Term NHS Plan, namely – will the poorest patients and communities benefit from the new investment promised? Other success criteria suggested by the NPA for the long-term plan seem to find a mirror in the vision document that accompanied Mr Hancock’s speech.

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By Alexander Humphries

Last week I decided to confront one of my most difficult patients. It was not an easy thing to do but it was necessary – and the outcome was rather surprising...

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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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