We all need to speak up: people are listening
By Andrew Lane, NPA chairman.
The NPA is deeply engaged in the ‘Fuller Stocktake’, which is considering how primary care can be best supported within integrated care systems. Later this spring, Dr Claire Fuller will make recommendations based on her findings directly to NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard.
Having recently taken part in a three-hour-long conversation with the Fuller team, I am convinced that they are very interested in what pharmacy has to offer. I can’t say for sure that the outcome will be very different this time compared to earlier reforms, but I do sense that the process is different and that community pharmacy is not a mere afterthought.
That is why the NPA is encouraging its members – and the wider sector – to participate. One way to do this is to share your stories on fullerstocktake.crowdicity.com. The themes included are:
• Creating the right environment: How can primary care and system partners work together to best meet the health needs of local people?
• People: How can the primary care workforce be recognised, supported and developed as part of one workforce so that it contributes to delivering more integrated models that improve population health?
• Access: How do we best facilitate timely access to primary care, taking account of different needs and preferences?
• Working with communities: What could strengthen the relationship between primary care, the communities and people it serves, and the wider health and social care system?
• Governance and decision-making: How do we ensure an effective primary care voice and representation within systems? What barriers do we need to overcome and how do we do that?
• Data and information: How can primary care use data to better understand the needs of patients and focus care where it is needed most – and how can systems help make this happen to improve the health of the population?
What has already been driven home to the Fuller team is the impressive scale of community pharmacy and what this can mean for patient access, public health and ‘making every contact count’.
Pharmacies, and perhaps especially independent pharmacies like me, tend to think of ourselves as small-scale operations, and we forget to describe the collective offer, which is massive. We are the most visited of all settings where NHS services are delivered, with the best reach into deprived communities.
So don’t keep your light under a bushel. Even if you’ve told your story many times before, please do so once again. People in high places are in listening mode.