Pharmacy Like Never Before

Pharmacy Like Never Before

The new year welcomed a new Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England. It will be interesting to see the direction of travel Mr David Webb will take; we hope a much-needed focus on the value pharmacy plays within our communities.

Mr Webb played a pivotal role at the forefront of the pharmacy response to the pandemic. He has an ambitious plan for community pharmacy, stating his intention “to lead the next stage of the transformation of pharmacy practice working with colleagues across the healthcare system to support them, listen to them and enable them to continue to deliver to the highest standards, helping the NHS recover services, improve the use of medicines for patients in the 21st century and deliver on important Long Term Plan commitments”.

There are significant pressing challenges ahead, COVID-19 forever changed the pharmacy landscape and brought into sharp focus just how important our community pharmacies are. They provided a lifeline to many when they needed them, I sense Mr Webb has an acute appreciation of this.

It seems the new CPO has ambitious plans. It will be interesting to see how he intends to shape the contract to reflect future healthcare priorities.

It’s going to be critical to look at how to drive efficiencies into pharmacy practice. Not least because of sustained and ongoing workforce challenges, but also in anticipation of our broader role in public health and increasing focus on the delivery of services. 

Mr Webb will lead the NHS’s medicines optimisation strategy, “transforming the practice of community pharmacy”, the implications of this transformation could mean a greater role for pharmacy teams as we gear up support patients make the most from their medication. 

It’s staggering to read that more than 21 million COVID-19 vaccinations were delivered through pharmacies, this achieved against a backdrop of an already pressurised infrastructure. Pharmacy has demonstrated its capability and appetite in supporting the health and wellbeing of patients. The untapped potential of our community pharmacies I hope will now be fully recognised and acknowledged. It’s encouraging to hear Mr Webb call out the value of pharmacy “The last two years has been an extremely challenging time for all NHS colleagues, but it has also highlighted the absolutely vital and positive role that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play as clinical professionals in the NHS team”. Let’s hope this rhetoric translates into action.

We are encouraged and welcome his experience and expertise and we trust that Mr Webb will honour his commitments, but more importantly ensure they are reflected in fair remuneration, we urge Mr Webb to conduct a thorough and rigorous review of current pharmacy funding. 

In the meantime, our thoughts turn to how we embrace the future service agenda. It will be important to recognise and tap into the investments we have made on your behalf, in solutions such as Golden Tote and Hey Pharmacist.

Golden Tote will help you drive efficiencies and free both the pharmacist and pharmacy teams to reflect and review current and future service potential. Supporting patients and delivering services will be the lifeblood of pharmacy going forwards. Current dispensing practices just won’t allow you the time to focus on these critical areas.

And with Hey Pharmacist, we’ll bring patients to you. Not only to access first class prescription services, but also to access your developed/evolved service portfolio. In an increasing digital era, patients want and need a solution that helps them manage their medicines on their terms. This app gives you the opportunity to tap into this growing customer base without the significant cost of developing your own solution.

We are here to champion independent pharmacy, we are committed to supporting our members and we will not give up the fight for fair and equitable funding that reflects the true value of community pharmacy – we sincerely hope Mr Webb feels the same.