The meeting with DH emphasised the importance of clear thinking on behalf of community pharmacy about the future, said Mr Darracott.
"After a difficult week and a half, culminating in the GP Forward View announcement of dramatically increased funding, seemingly at our expense, it is harder to focus on trying to secure a positive future for the network with harsh funding cuts still planned from October. But the meeting, and the topics discussed, reminded us that we are engaged in a consultation entitled "Community pharmacy: 2016/17 and beyond". For us in Pharmacy Voice, it is crucial that we are clear where we are trying to get to, in responding to the Government proposals, and that requires us to think several years ahead and break out of the one-year settlement mindset that can often entrap us.
The Community Pharmacy Forward View is expected to be shared "very soon", in advance of the DH's 24 May deadline for their consultation, said Mr Darracott. It is likely to look at ways to put pharmacy on a sustainable footing focus on patient outcomes rather than service provision, said Pharmacy Voice. "We are working principally with PSNC, but also with RPS, local pharmacy leaders, and informed by a range of external perspectives and challenge. We look forward to sharing this view with the sector and beyond very soon."
Pharmacy Voice also commented on community pharmacy review that has been commissioned by NHS England from The King's Fund, which is anticipated to run until October. The King's Fund is expected to be assessing the need for community pharmacy clinical services in the context of NHS priorities and value for money for the taxpayer.
"The announcement of the independent review of community pharmacy services holds some threats to the sector, but the scope should allow a proper consideration of the work going on across the country to improve outcomes for patients. We will certainly do what we can to make sure the King's Fund-led review is looking at the right things. However, we firmly believe the sector should decide where we want to be by the end of this spending review period. It must be our ideas that lead thinking on how the Integration Fund could get the greatest impact. We might recognise the need for efficiency and effectiveness, but we need to offer our own way forward and not think that the Department of Health and/or NHS England's proposals represent the only way forward," said Mr Darracott.