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Numark chairman praises “bold and forward-looking” NI community pharmacy vision

NHS & health news

Numark chairman praises “bold and forward-looking” NI community pharmacy vision

Numark chairman Harry McQuillan has praised the government in Northern Ireland for its “bold and forward-looking” strategic plan which sets out how community pharmacies can support better health outcomes from medicines and prevent illness up until 2030.

McQuillan (pictured), who was Community Pharmacy Scotland chief executive for 17 years during which time he helped ensure community pharmacies north of the border were supported to play a key healthcare role, said he was impressed by the vision for community pharmacy in Northern Ireland.

The plan laid out six strategic priorities; expanding the range of clinical services available through community pharmacies; maintaining and modernising systems for the safe and reliable supply of medicines and advice from pharmacies; developing the capacity and capability of the community pharmacy workforce; building a digital infrastructure for safe, efficient, paperless systems and services;  strengthening community development links to help address health inequalities and improve health literacy; and promoting community pharmacy as “a great place to train, work and build pharmacy careers.”

The government’s plan says a range of new pharmacy services and an expansion of existing services can be introduced over the next six years if adequate funding has been secured. That, it said, includes expanding the conditions under pharmacy first and using diagnostics, independent prescribing and patient group directions to deliver it, with sore throat, shingles, impetigo, sinusitis, earache and infected insect bite added to the list.

The plan detailed a new hypertension detection service and hospital discharge medicines service and said the care home service will be developed “to establish clinical patient-centered roles for community pharmacists that help to optimise the benefits of medicines for residents.”

It also said pilots will be run “to inform the redesign of needle exchange and opiate substitution services and enhance access to hepatitis C and HIV treatments and naloxone.”

There will also be pilots for an acute cough assessment service, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease packs and provision of long-term contraception.

Insisting Numark will “be working to fully support its members” to deliver those priorities, McQuillan said: “It is particularly pleasing to see a vision specific to the community pharmacy sector with a bold and forward-looking approach to practice to develop patient centred services, incorporate independent prescribing, advanced practice and support the population health needs. 

“The ambitions to fully realise the potential of community pharmacy services to support better health outcomes from medicines and prevent illness and to ensure that people will continue to receive their prescription medicines from community pharmacies across Northern Ireland are to be championed.

“I look forward to working with all stakeholders over the coming years to bring the intended population health and community pharmacy benefits to fruition.”





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