The NHS has declining resources in real terms so pharmacy could be the answer, says Chris Martin

Pharmaceutical care services based around the community pharmacy network have been on pharmacy’s service development agenda since around 2005. In the almost 10 years since then, this concept has developed to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the attitudes of local commissioners – and in some cases, on which side of Hadrian’s Wall or Offa’s Dyke you are located.

Today the NHS across Britain faces the task of meeting increasing demand for services with declining resources in real terms. As a result, pharmaceutical care and its potential to release the underutilised resource of the community pharmacy network has once again become the currency of negotiation and lobby. You just need to read strategy documents, such as Scotland’s Prescription for Excellence or Wales’ public health consultation document ‘Listening to You’ or to digest the minutes of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme and its work on rethinking the supervision legislation in pharmacy, to see that the country’s health departments all have developing pharmacy very much on their minds.

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Unannounced inspections and a new approach by GPhC is a total game-changer, says Noel Wicks

I don’t know if you noticed, but pharmacy is undergoing the biggest change in its recent history. I may have only been in the profession of pharmacy for 13 years, but I have never come across a game changer of this magnitude before.

I’m not talking about the Scottish Prescription for Excellence document or the change from PCTs to CCGs. I’m talking about the GPhC’s new model of premises inspection. In fact, by the time you read this, quite a few pharmacies (including one of ours) will have experienced their first taste of life under the new regime. I do hope that we weren’t found wanting!

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Strong interest in UK pharmacy from the United States will have long-term implications here, for sure, says Noel Wicks

Red, white and blue. They may be the colours of the Union Jack, at least until referendum day in Scotland, but they are also the colours of the USA’s Stars and Stripes.

In the past couple of years we’ve developed more in common with them aside from flag colours. It started with the Alliance Boots and Wallgreen merger and has developed further with the recent purchase of Celesio by American titan McKesson.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights...the Falsified Medicines Directive,  access to patients' records and the RPS Faculty

Be prepared is the famous motto of the Scouts, as I remember from my younger days. Pharmacists, too, have to be well prepared to cope with the challenges (many of them unexpected) that spring up as they get on with the job.

One issue that will need some consideration, and certainly some planning and future investment, is the Falsified Medicines Directive, which is being driven by European Union law.

 

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What should PMR systems be doing for pharmacy, asks Noel Wicks?

I love technology. I’m the sort of person the technology guys refer to as an ‘early adopter’. If there’s a new piece of kit I’ll get it and in most cases retain it in the attic for long after the novelty has worn off. In fact, I was rummaging in the loft the other day and I found the Amstrad PenPad I bought in 1996 for £50 from a Tandy store (remember those?).

While taking a walk down this electronic nostalgia lane, I reflected on how far things have come since: of course, today I can use my smartphone to book a flight, translate a language, make a video call and even send money across the globe.

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