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Help pharmacists to engage with new commissioning structures, MPs told

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Help pharmacists to engage with new commissioning structures, MPs told

P3Pharmacy editor Rob Darracott addressing MPs last week (Gov.UK)

There are system-wide gaps preventing many pharmacists from having a bigger impact in the new primary care landscape, MPs have heard.

Speaking at a health select committee hearing last Tuesday on the effectiveness of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), P3Pharmacy editor Rob Darracott said the NHS had a role to play in facilitating pharmacy engagement with the new structures: “There’s a huge gap between organisation and system leadership.

“That gap needs to be recognised and filled if we want [pharmacists] to think about how the system fits together and the role they might play." 

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” said Mr Darracott as he argued that leadership development would be beneficial to any pharmacists, “whether they’re working as locums, managing a pharmacy or working in primary care”.

Mr Darracott and National Pharmacy Association chair Andrew Lane told the select committee that although there are pockets of England where community pharmacists are engaging effectively with ICSs, it is “patchy” across the country and work in most places is “still at early stages”. 

Mr Lane said: “We've been in different silos historically and ICSs are an opportunity to pull all systems together for the benefit of patients.” 

He cited the Discharge Medicines Service and dementia training for pharmacy delivery drivers as examples demonstrating that the sector can collaborate with secondary care and social services, as well as with primary care. 

“We’ve seen pharmacists prescribe and get UTIs off doctors’ desks, so we are starting to release capacity [in the system] and we’re on that clinical journey. We welcome that, but it has to be with the right level of funding,” Mr Lane added. 

Mr Darracott added: “Scratch the surface anywhere and you will find a community pharmacy doing something that makes you say ‘wow, I never knew they could do that’.”

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