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By NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick

When you’re ‘pitching’ community pharmacy solutions to commissioners, policymakers, patients, politicians and others, pharmacy’s ‘access story’ is often a good place to start. Where else in the health service can you simply walk in off the street and get access to professional healthcare advice in a matter of minutes, usually without an appointment?

There’s also a great story to tell on prevention, public health and ‘making every contact count’. In fact, there is so much we can say – and do say – about the benefits of pharmacy that our messages can become rather cluttered if we’re not careful.

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We have received a letter from one of the local GP practices bemoaning the fact that we have been referring patients to them who needed to be seen urgently, a pharmacist writes

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By Richard Thomas, editor, Pharmacy Magazine.

Christmas and the New Year is traditionally a time of hope and renewal, but, as the prescriptions pile up, it is hard for pharmacists to feel any sense of optimism.

We await the Government’s long-term plan for the NHS, but in the meantime the funding cuts are really taking their toll in the form of squeezed cashflow, job losses, reduced services, shelved investments and poor morale.

 

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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 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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