Improving health and patient care through community pharmacy: a call to action – what now?

Clare Howard, NHS England’s Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, outlines the next steps for the Improving Health and Patient Care through Community Pharmacy – a call to action which has received a hugely positive response:

The Improving Health and Patient Care through Community Pharmacy – a call to action closed on 18 March. But in many ways it was really just the end of the beginning. So, what response did we get and what happens now?

Well, firstly we have been overwhelmed by the number of Area Team events and local events that were organised and the formal responses that we have received. We have had over 100 written responses and over 700 submissions to the website. Thank you to all of you that took the time to put your thoughts together and tell us how you think community pharmacy could be better organised to meet the needs of patients in the future.

We are currently engaging with patients to understand their views and there will be 10 focus groups happening over the next few weeks. We are also working on our patient questionnaires and with our third sector partners.

As with the GP call to action, your submissions will now be independently evaluated and reported back to our team working on the Call To Action and Community Pharmacy Strategy. We are also working with the urgent and emergency care review team to make sure the community pharmacy contribution to the urgent and emergency care review links coherently with the overall community pharmacy strategy.

Finally on a personal note, I would like to thank all the Area Teams and Pharmacy organisations and Pharmacy teams that got behind the work and gave us your time, energy and enthusiasm to provide us with a significant body of responses upon which to stat to develop the strategy. It’s a great start.


Clare Howard

Clare Howard is Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for NHS England and is leading the work on Medicines Optimisation for NHS England. Clare first started working in pharmacy at the age of 16 and since then has worked with community pharmacists, primary and secondary care.


  1. Mohammed Mokoddus says:

    Top two priorities:

    B: Access to shared patient care record
    E: Better aligned incentive and contractual structure

  2. Pearl Baker says:

    I have already commented on how the Pharmacist can help the community, however my concerns has been with medication being prescribed to the patient without first reading the patients medication notes, and their interactions with other drugs, that can be fatal.

    It does happen.

    Many patients have a regular nominated Pharmacy. I have recently given a medical report to this Pharmacy to be kept on file, ensuring that the drugs in this report as being dangerous are not prescribed.

  3. Royce Franklin says:

    I am unaware whether the Pharmacy First system is universal but although it still seems to be available in some areas it is rarely used, I suspect largely because it involves extra administration for pharmacists. According to my information 89% of prescriptions are not paid for. To go to the doctor’s it therefore more costly. lt is no incentive for those who don’t pay if they go to the doctors. A visit to the pharmacist costs money for the patient and time for the pharmacist. Until this is resolved it means that patients unnecessarily go to the doctors for minor ailments. that crowds the doctors’ surgeries. Patient then go to A& E because they can not get a doctor’s appointment. I appreciate pharamcists are a privately-run business but so are doctor’s surgeries. Royce Franklin, Chair of the Saddleworth Medical Practice Patient Participation Group, Oldham.

  4. Bharat Pandya says:

    Top two priorities

    text b ( shared access to pmr ) and text e (incentived contract)

  5. Farida Fahad says:

    B and E

  6. Hemant Patel says:

    Thank you for your work and support. We loved having Alison and Mohammed at our events. Cannot believe we had 9 meetings in all over a period of a month. Independently evaluated? Please explain in more detail. Look forward to the report (presumably it will be published with a government report).