As the debate over community pharmacy, and pharmacist numbers continues, are existing pharmacies are in the right places, asks Noel Wicks?

It seems that community pharmacy is doing a bit of soul-searching regarding the number of pharmacies there are. It’s an interesting debate and one that naturally seems to have polarised opinion.

At the recent Sigma conference, chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge suggested that the current Call to Action consultation could be used to help inform NHS England on this matter. It’s a sensible suggestion, I think, but I would hope that it wouldn’t be the end of the conversation, because the very reason for the consultation is to decide local strategies to help the commissioning of community pharmacy services.

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The quest for access to patients’ records may not be as rewarding as it may first seem, says Noel Wicks

Patient records have yet again hit the headlines, as both Jeremy Hunt and Andrew Lansley acknowledge that the lack of access to records can act as a blockage to pharmacy service development. Indeed, achieving access to records has become a sort of holy grail for the past decade as community pharmacy tries to push forward with services.

In certain parts of the country some patient information has already started to flow through pharmacies with local enhanced services and the like. For some time now we have been able to access a patients’ Emergency Care Summary in Scotland by contacting NHS 24, our version of NHS Direct.

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The new system for commissioning is complex but pharmacy can still play its role, says Mike Smith

I’ve been reading the NHS Confederation report ‘Health on the High Street – rethinking the role of community pharmacy’ about where pharmacy fits into the new healthcare architecture.

The system of commissioning is complex and I have heard comments from some areas that it is not working very effectively. I have discussed this before, but I think it is time for a refresh.

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