Community pharmacy should be working together with the Department of Health to develop a clinically-focused and services-orientated role that is fully integrated into the NHS, pharmacy minister David Mowat MP has said.

Speaking via video link at the 2017 Sigma Conference, this year held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, he acknowledged that the past 18 months have been challenging for community pharmacy in England, but suggested that opportunities for the sector now needed to be explored.

He said: “I very much hope that we can get that behind us and work together. What we all want to do is to produce much more clinically-focused, services-orientated community pharmacy profession in the UK.”  

With not enough GPs in primary care, he said “there really is a massive opportunity for the pharmacy sector to step up and work with us.”

He pointed to the integration fund that will “allow us to do more to integrate community pharmacy and pharmacy in general into primary care pathways” and the potential of changes to NHS 111 that will divert people requesting repeat prescriptions out-of-hours to community pharmacy.

He welcomed the Murray Review, which was now with chief pharmaceutical officer Dr Keith Ridge for consideration, he said.  

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