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Multiples call for supervision changes to meet clinical ambitions for pharmacy


Multiples call for supervision changes to meet clinical ambitions for pharmacy

The Government must make changes to the “foundational legislation” underpinning pharmacy supervision regulations if it wishes to use community pharmacies to widen primary care access, a trade body for large pharmacy multiples has said.

In a statement issued today (June 8) the Company Chemists’ Association welcomed the recent announcement of £645m in new funding to fund Pharmacy First and other services but said the steady rise in pharmacists’ workload in recent years has left them with little capacity to do more.

“A stretched and reduced pharmacy workforce is having to deliver more and more,” said the CCA, claiming that workload relating to prescriptions and national service is up almost 10 per cent against a 2017-18 baseline, amounting to an additional five hours’ work per pharmacy each week.

The organisation said reducing pharmacists’ involvement in dispensing will be “essential to creating capacity” and called for legislative changes allowing support staff to take on more responsibilities, as well as giving pharmacy technicians a wider role in some services such as working under Patient Group Directions (PGDs).

These changes are currently “hindered” by the existing supervision legislation, said the CCA, which along with six other pharmacy bodies has formed a working group aimed at influencing the Government’s anticipated reforms.

The CCA also called on the Government to be more ambitions in its commissioning of national services, arguing that Pharmacy First should be “rapidly expanded to include all common conditions” rather than limited to seven common conditions.

Finally, it urged policy makers to use technological solutions like automation to “increase capacity by moving workload away from pharmacy teams,” noting that “promised legislation” on hub and spoke dispensing and original pack dispensing “have not yet materialised”.

CCA chief Malcolm Harrison said: “Patient demand on pharmacies has increased drastically in the last few years. We know the sector has the potential to do more, but without immediate investment it is quickly reaching breaking point.

“The Government committed to legislative action four years ago and these changes are yet to nationalise. Without these changes and immediate investment, the true potential of the sector will never be realised.

“It is not just the implementation of Pharmacy First at risk, other existing and essential services could also grind to a halt.”

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