The Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) was established in 2016 to accelerate the integration of:
- Pharmacy professionals across health and care systems to deliver medicines optimisation for patients as part of an integrated system;
- Clinical pharmacy services into primary care networks building on the NHS Five Year Forward View and NHS Long Term Plan
The NHS Long Term Plan published January 2019 is now the driver for determining the priorities for the Pharmacy Integration Programme. The ambition in the NHS Long Term Plan to move to a new service model for the NHS sets out five practical changes that need to be achieved over the five-year period 2019 to 2024:
- Boosting “out of hospital care” to dissolve the historic divide between primary and community health services
- Redesign and reduce pressure on emergency hospital services
- Deliver more personalised care when it is needed to enable people to get more control over their own health
- Digitally enable primary and outpatient care to go mainstream across the NHS
- Local NHS organisations to focus on population health and local partnerships with local authority funded services and through new Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) everywhere.
The continued work of the pharmacy integration programme needs to build on what has already been delivered and support these priorities ensuring the continued development of the evidence base that informs future commissioning in line with these priorities for transformation.
The community pharmacy contractual framework (CPCF) agreement for 2019 – 2024 sets out the ambition for developing new clinical services for community pharmacy as part of the five-year commitment. The pharmacy integration programme will pilot and evaluate these services with the intention of incorporating them into the national framework depending on pilot evaluations.
The GP contract for 2019 – 2024 also set out a plan to develop a “pharmacy connection scheme” for community pharmacy.
The Pharmacy Integration Programme is currently providing support to the following workstreams:
- The GP referral pathway to the NHS Community Pharmacist Service (CPCS);
- The NHS 111 referral pathway to the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS);
- The Hypertension Case-Finding Pilot – members of the public over 40 years can have their blood pressure checked by the community pharmacy team. For those with high blood pressure, they will be offered ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and then, where appropriate, referred to their GP;
- The Smoking Cessation Transfer of Care Pilot – hospital inpatients (including antenatal inpatients) will be able to continue their stop smoking journey within community pharmacy upon discharge;
- Palliative Care and end of life medicines supply service building on the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Structured medication reviews in PCNs for people with a learning disability, autism or both, linking with the STOMP programme;
- Exploring the routine monitoring and supply of contraception (including some long-acting reversible contraceptives) in community pharmacy;
- Expanding the existing New Medicines Service (NMS);
- Developing and testing peer and professional support networks for all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in PCNs including general practice, community pharmacy and community services linking with secondary care consultant pharmacists and clinical pharmacy specialist roles;
- Exploring a national scheme for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to gain access to essential medicines information resources working with SPS Medicines Information Services;
- Workforce development for pharmacy professionals in collaboration with Health Education England (HEE) including these programmes:
- medicines optimisation in care homes
- primary care pharmacy educational pathway
- integrated urgent care
- post-graduate clinical pharmacy
- Mary Seacole Leadership programme for community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
- Integrated training scheme placements for pre-registration pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
- independent prescribing
- enhanced clinical examination skills
- NUMSAS and DMIRS
- Pharmacists in integrated urgent care (IUC)
- Medicines optimisation in care homes (MOCH)
- System leadership – Integrated pharmacy medicines optimisation programme (IPMO)
- Independent review of community pharmacy clinical services
All programmes are informed by ongoing stakeholder engagement and patient and public involvement. Each project is underpinned by an expert task and finish group that reports into the Pharmacy Integration governance group.
The governance of the programme is overseen by various advisory groups and boards, including representation from clinical commissioning groups, NHS England regions, community and hospital pharmacy, general practice, primary care networks, patients, carers and pharmacy representative bodies.