The PhIF fund, worth £20 million in 2016 rising to a total of £300 million by 2020-21, is intended to help pharmacists and their teams to be fully incorporated across NHS planning and service delivery.
“We would expect bids for this fund, enabling multi-disciplinary team working, to be led by pharmacists. The fund should only be available to support changes which integrate pharmacists into health systems to benefit patients," said chair of the English Pharmacy Board, Sandra Gidley.
She said that, by 2021, demonstrable change brought about by the fund should be seen, such as:"
1. Urgent care through pharmacy
“The fund can help deliver the long-awaited promise of community pharmacists as the first contact point for urgent care which relieves pressure on GP services and A&E. Pharmacist-led urgent care should be integrated into wider provision, for example through referrals from NHS 111 and GP out of hours services."
2. Long term conditions better supported by pharmacists
“Patients with stable long-term conditions can also be helped by the fund through its support of local initiatives by community pharmacists which optimise medicines as part of patient-centred care and enable pharmacists to become an integral part of the primary care team."
3. New roles for pharmacists
“Operating in collaboration with a robust community pharmacy network, the fund can further be used to develop other roles for pharmacists – a new clinical infrastructure for the profession – in care homes, urgent clinical care hubs and other new models of care. Ultimately this will create better care for patients and a mutually supportive pharmacy service.
“We look forward to further discussions with the Department of Health and colleagues at NHS England to help deliver, along with the other pharmacy bodies, a transformation of the way pharmacists work across the NHS.”