Now work to put Murray proposals into action...

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Now work to put Murray proposals into action...

Proposals outlined in the independent report from the King’s Fund’s Richard Murray – the Community Pharmacy Clinical Services Review ­– are “positive” and “welcome” but action is needed to make then a reality, PSNC has said.

“We are ready and keen to work to implement these as soon as possible,” said chief executive Sue Sharpe. “The events of last year have badly dented the confidence of pharmacy contractors, but energy in moving forwards will do a lot to restore it.”

Speaking for Pharmacy Voice, Rob Darracott commented that the sector had been calling for an expanded role in the delivery of clinical and public health service for a long time and that the report “helps to reinforce that this is the right direction of travel.” The evidence review, published alongside Murray’s review, was of particular interest, he said.

However, is still a significant job to do to ensure that the ideas in the report are fully realised, he stressed.

While some elements of the Community Pharmacy Forward View, produced by Pharmacy Voice with endorsement from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society earlier this year, were reflected in the recommendations, this could have “gone further” he said.

“There are areas where we would have liked these to go further to match the sector’s own ambitions. Some of the recommendations will need further reflection, to understand how NHS England would look to implement them on a practical basis, and how potential unintended consequences would be avoided.”

Workable plan

Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Board also said that moving “quickly to this future” would be the key to “unlocking this potential” of community pharmacy as described in the review.

While welcome, the proposals must be looked at in context of the pharmacy cuts that have just been implemented in England. “It is not credible for anyone who works on the front line not to view this report without reference to the reduction of funding for community pharmacy. We are not alone in being concerned in how the circle can be squared; a reduction in resources does not help pharmacists to do more to improve patient care.”

Promised resources in the Pharmacy Integration Fund need to be translated into a “workable implementation plan,” she said. The fund should be deployed into making the proposed clinical medication reviews and independent prescribing for pharmacists move “from being aspirations to reality”.

Funding questions

Nitin Sodha, Chair of the National Pharmacy Association’s Policy and Practice Committee, said that funding to develop the proposals should now be discussed. “These are very welcome recommendations, which recognise that community pharmacy has a much greater role to play in urgent care and supporting people with long term conditions. We hope that NHS England will act with pace to drive forward the service developments described. The Department of Health must also be prepared to talk about a sensible level of funding that can sustain this kind of positive development over time.

“Our confidence in NHS England and the Department of Health has been severely dented these past twelve months. We earnestly hope that they take this opportunity to change the bleak scene they have been setting to one which maximises the potential of local pharmacies. 

“The review sets out a positive agenda, but it is certainly not the limit of what our sector is capable of, given the right level of investment and trust in the profession. We can and should move further and faster on pharmacist prescribing for example, creating a more convenient service for patients and invigorating primary care.”

Challenges to overcome

Cormac Tobin, managing director of Celesio UK, said the report had the potential of "realising the passion and genius of community pharmacy and pharmacists".

“I have read the Murray Review with interest and I am delighted to see the pragmatic recommendations made which I believe firmly support a greater use of existing clinical services and the delivery of the Community Pharmacy Forward View. We have long called for national, as well as local approaches to commissioning of community pharmacy services and it is very positive to see that this is recognised. This is a report with the clear intention of creating a better, future-proofed health care system by realising the passion and genius of community pharmacy and pharmacists," he said.

"Of course there will be some challenges to overcome, and by embracing these we can improve the way that community pharmacy integrates and interfaces with the wider NHS and also engages with the new models of care agenda. These factors are so important to the future development of the sector in the context of the challenges facing our NHS and the nation’s health.

It was encouraging to see the review published after a difficult year for community pharmacy, he said.

 

 

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