RPS sets out its criteria for primary care networks

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English pharmacy board has written to NHS England to put forward some key considerations for the primary care network initiative, and to argue that pharmacy “will be vital in delivering a sustainable NHS for the future”.

Primary care networks are one structure through which NHS England aims to facilitate joined-up working between health organisations.

In a letter to NHS England director of primary care delivery Dominic Hardy, the RPS stressed “the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach in designing primary care services” and set out five tests against which the success of primary care networks can be judged.

The tests are:

  • Patient and public involvement, which includes emphasising person-centred care and taking a community asset-based approach
  • Drawing on leadership from the whole of primary care –  including pharmacy teams
  • Recognising the value of medicines, e.g. including medicines optimisation advocates in local system leadership
  • Interoperability of data, which covers the flow of information between primary care professionals
  • A greater focus on prevention – includes self care and supported self-management of long-term conditions.

English pharmacy board chair Sandra Gidley said: “The NHS spent £17.4bn on medicines in 2016/17. Ensuring patients and the health service get the most benefit from medicines should therefore be a key ambition of the NHS long-term plan.

“Whether it is Primary Care Networks or STPs, as local health leaders start working more closely together it will be crucial to make the most of the clinical knowledge of pharmacists to support patient safety and develop a system-wide approach to medicines optimisation.”

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