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? We suggest the following tests are also considered:
Earlier this year, the NPA gathered and distributed stories about community pharmacy’s proud track record in the NHS as part of the NHS 70th anniversary celebrations. We pointed out that community pharmacy has a central role and is not a mere adjunct to the wider system. Many of the stories sent to us by NPA members showed that, as a provider of key services to the NHS, community pharmacists blend the entrepreneurial spirit of private enterprise with the values of public service.
Pharmacists, indeed anyone working in a front-line pharmacy role, understand that the NHS is ultimately about people, not pills. Community pharmacy is ideally placed to be the facilitator of personalised care for people with long-term conditions and to support and empower patients to manage their own health – which is stated to be a key area for the 10-year plan.
Any truly ambitious plan should therefore include community pharmacy, which already provides convenient local access to healthcare, inside and outside the NHS.
An online consultation continues until September 30 and is open to all to contribute. Meanwhile, in co-ordination with other pharmacy leadership bodies, the NPA is making representations to the work stream leads developing the long-term plan.
The NPA is also taking part in a debate about the 10-year plan at the Conservative Party conference. You can watch from 5.20pm on Monday, October 1, via Live Stream at Facebook.com/NationalPharmacyAssociation or join the discussion via Twitter.com/NPA1921.