Integrating pharmacy into primary care

NHS England is the national commissioner for NHS community pharmacy services and our role is to make sure the NHS provides safe, high quality patient care and services within primary care and to ensure that the NHS lives within its means.

NHS England is committed to working with the pharmacy professions to create a positive future for community pharmacy and to integrate clinical pharmacy skills within the wider NHS primary and urgent care teams, and these pages outline the plans.

There is no doubt that there will need to be changes to how pharmacy currently operates in primary care to further improve health outcomes and value from medicines and NHS England is working closely with the sector to support and enable this process.

NHS England’s strategic direction for community pharmacy

NHS England intends to use the recommendations of the Independent Review of Community Pharmacy Clinical Services, commissioned by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, to inform its approach to the future commissioning of NHS community pharmacy services.

The independent review, chaired by Richard Murray of the King’s Fund, was commissioned in April 2016 following the opportunity presented by publication of the Five Year Forward View in October 2014 and the General Practice Forward View in April 2016, both of which set out proposals for the future of the NHS based around the new models of care. The review is due to be completed by the end of 2016.

The need for an in-depth pharmacy review was decided by:

  • The changing patient and population needs for healthcare, in particular the demands of an ageing population with multiple long term conditions.
  • Emerging models of pharmaceutical care provision from the UK and internationally.
  • The evidence of sub-optimal outcomes from medicines in primary care settings.
  • The need to improve value through integration of pharmacy and clinical pharmaceutical skills into patient pathways and the emerging new care models.

The review examined the evidence base of the clinical elements of the current Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework and other clinical services. It made recommendations for commissioning models and clinical pharmacy services aimed at ensuring community pharmacy is better integrated with primary care and making far greater use of community pharmacy and pharmacists.

NHS England set up a Pharmacy Integration Fund to support these changes and to help transform how pharmacy will operate in the NHS.

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