Reinventing community pharmacy is “going to be a complicated journey,” Royal Pharmaceutical Society president, Ash Soni, told Avicenna conference delegates. The key message is about “the value we offer, not the cost we create,” he said. “There is an opportunity for pharmacy to show what it can do differently.”

“The challenge is to deliver the best things for patients during all this change, he said.

While many details are still sketchy, Mr Soni updated Avicenna delegates on potential aspects of pharmacy funding.

It’s possible that Medicines Use Reviews “may go”, he suggested, depending on decisions made by government in coming months. The purpose of a King’s Fund review due this autumn, commissioned by NHS England, is to suggest what the 2017/18 contract should include or not, he said.

The Pharmacy Integration Fund, announced by government in December, and which is not part of the negotiations with PSNC, will amount to £100 million by five years. “That’s quite a lot of money, but not as much as they are about to take out,” said Mr Soni. Do not expect this to come through the national contract, he said: “It will come through locally commissioned services.”

Pharmacies under threat may also have access to funding from the Pharmacy Access Fund. This should apply equally to city pharmacies, as much as rural pharmacies, which are more commonly linked with the fund, he suggested. “I’d argue on behalf of London, that we need some of that Access Fund.”  

Despite the current climate, opportunities for pharmacy may never have been greater, he commented. “It will be difficult to get there, but we will get there,” he said.

However, pharmacies that continue to work as they do today will not succeed, said Mr Soni. “The world is going to change around you. If we do not see this journey to quality based delivery, we will fail.”

Working with the NHS requires community pharmacists to talk more often around clinical topics with primary care colleagues, he suggested: “We need to talk the language of NHS.”

“When services are commissioned you have to deliver them,” he warned.

"Learn, train and invest in your staff," he advised.

 

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