There are other priorities to be tackled before any proposed changes to supervision, suggests Noel Wicks

Supervision seems to be the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment. The debate was re-ignited recently by the letter from a group of RPS members to the President-elect stating that supporting the removal of the need for a pharmacist in a pharmacy would be a betrayal of its members.

This thorny issue has been sat with the Department of Health’s rebalancing board for the last four years with many views expressed both for and against changes to supervision rules.


The Department set itself the task of looking at supervision because it believes that current legislation restricts the full use of the skill of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and puts unnecessary obstacles in the way of new models of service delivery.

Are they right? Do we actually need more flexibility in service provision?

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Numark's Mandeep Mudhar comments on the resilience of community pharmacy.

If we’ve learned anything over the past few months, it is that pharmacy needs to work much, much harder to be heard – and considered – in an extremely noisy, politically charged environment.

Just when the sector thought that the judicial decision not to reverse the funding cuts was the height of its misfortune, a number of pharmacy representatives and prominent industry gures lost their clout in Government.

 

Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP and vice-chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, lost his seat
in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, and Jason McCartney, who was the only Conservative MP to vote against the funding cuts in pharmacy last year (when 299 of his party peers did the opposite), lost his seat in Colne Valley. Signifcantly, we also witnessed the exit of pharmacy minister David Mowat MP, opening the doors to the appointment of a new minister.

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How can you make sure that people think to visit pharmacy before setting off on holiday?

I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to my summer holiday. For most of us, it is one of the highlights of the year. Of course, we should all take the necessary precautions to make sure we don’t encounter any holiday health hazards, and so a pre-holiday trip to the pharmacy should be a key part of people’s travel preparations.

It is hoped that most people know that pharmacy staff are well placed to recommend the appropriate medicines and travel products that can be used to treat conditions such as sunburn, headaches, diarrhoea and insect bites, and also that community pharmacists can offer advice on any vaccinations or additional medications that people may need.

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We may see several POM to P switches in coming months – this is good news, says PAGB

It is hard to believe that we’re already in June and halfway through 2017. This year has been eventful for various reasons, but a real positive for me is the increase in reclassification applications. After years of leading the way in reclassifying medicines, the number of successful switches in the UK has dipped over the past ten years, so I’m excited to see these new applications under consideration.

The reclassification of medicines from prescription only (POM) to pharmacy (P) or general sales list (GSL), where safe and appropriate to do so, can only be a positive thing. Over-the-counter availability offers people faster and easier access to effective medicines, reduces pressure and costs on GPs and the NHS and encourages more people to self care. PAGB supports companies that bring forward potential switches where there is a clear benefit and case for promoting self care.

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What’s been happening under cover with prescribing is now out in the open, says Noel Wicks

It seems that NHS England is taking a leaf out of the book of certain CCGs with its recent announcement to review a selection of “low value” medicines that it believes may have limited clinical value. The 10 items include tadalafil, travel vaccines, lidocaine plasters, fentanyl and doxazosin. In total, this could yield about £130 million in savings, although I imagine this assumes that no alternatives are prescribed.


This seems a far cry from the £400 million that Simon Stevens suggested could be saved by this review. So where is the rest coming from? Alongside this initial list of specified medicines NHS England also intends review other areas such as gluten-free foods and minor ailments including hayfever, pain and indigestion.

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