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PDA calls for two pharmacists per pharmacy in post-Covid vision


PDA calls for two pharmacists per pharmacy in post-Covid vision

There should be a minimum of two pharmacists working in every community pharmacy at all times, says the Pharmacists’ Defence Association in a new policy briefing.

The PDA report, which looks at how pharmacy can play an enhanced role in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, says that in order to “achieve better integration and patient outcomes around pharmaceutical care” the professional capabilities of pharmacists must be deployed in a more targeted way. 

There should be “one [pharmacist] delivering patient-facing care around medicines use… and the other running pharmaceutical care clinics and managing caseloads of patients on an appointment-led basis,” the report says, arguing that community pharmacy should “look more like a clinical setting and less like a shop”.

Pharmacists would be responsible for clinical checks on prescriptions “but no longer for their assembly” under the arrangements envisioned by the PDA, with pharmacy technicians managing the “technical aspects of dispensing”.

The report calls for greater collaboration within primary care and the creation of a “community of practice” with community pharmacy acting as the front door to the health service in a more formalised way than is seen at present. This would be “a lot less costly” than the current doctor-led model, the PDA claims.

To support this collaboration, the PDA suggests closer alignment between GP and pharmacy contracts, as well as a new GP triaging system that would “actively encourage many more patients to be treated elsewhere”.

Other recommendations include allowing community pharmacies to make local nursing referrals for ‘frequent flyer’ patients through new formal pathways, having a ‘social care champion’ in every pharmacy and using pharmacy as a means of helping “digitally disenfranchised” patients navigate the increasingly interconnected health service.

“The Covid-19 crisis has shown that the time to reengineer the system to not only improve the patient journey, but also to use limited NHS resources to much better effect has surely arrived,” said the PDA.

In his foreword to the report, Labour peer Lord Hunt said there should be “much greater involvement of pharmacists” in the health and care landscape, commenting: “Pharmacy can provide a much more comprehensive contribution to healthcare than was ever contemplated before.

“This revelation is timely as across society and particularly across healthcare, now more than ever before the need to look imaginatively at how we spend limited financial resources has become apparent.”

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