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New guidance supports local pharmacy commissioning

New guidance for healthcare commissioners in England has been published, which aims to support the better use of community pharmacies to reduce pressure on the wider health and social care sector.

The toolkit – ‘Commissioning medicines optimisation services from community pharmacy’ – recognises the role pharmacists can play in improving patients’ use of medicines, patient safety and reducing morbidity.

Developed by the University of Manchester and Primary Care Commissioning from evidence derived from a NHS National Institute for Health Research-funded study of factors influencing the quality and quantity of community pharmacy services, the toolkit is intended to support local commissioning by CCGs.

Nationally commissioned medicines optimisation services such as MURs and the NMS already exist, but there is still room for services commissioned locally to meet identified needs, it is suggested.

Strengths

Dr Sally Jacobs, from the Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies at the University of Manchester, one of the toolkit’s authors and study lead, said pharmacists are one of the strengths of the health service.

“In light of announced cuts to the community pharmacy sector, it is a time of uncertainty for the 11,000 pharmacies across the country. However, as this toolkit suggests, shifting responsibility to community pharmacists for monitoring and improving patients’ adherence to their medicines has the potential to generate savings for the NHS.

“Supporting well-informed and longer-term local commissioning of community pharmacy services may be one way for pharmacies to make up some of the predicted shortfall in funding.”

Dr Jane Brown, chair of the Greater Manchester Pharmacy Local Professional Network, welcomed the toolkit’s publication. "[It] will help to raise awareness of the value of community services for both the health and prevention agendas as there are a number of different commissioners of community pharmacy services. The toolkit may also lead to better co-ordination between commissioners to ensure that new local services build on what is already commissioned at a national level.”

The guidance can be accessed here.

It will help to raise awareness of the value of community pharmacy services

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