English pharmacists have joined the Dispensing Doctors’ Association in calling for GPs and pharmacists to offer integrated care.
In a new campaign for England, the RPS makes three calls:
- General Practitioners to embrace the potential that pharmacists can bring to the care of their patients
- Local Commissioners to include pharmacist expertise in all care pathways that use medicines including the formal involvement of community pharmacists in local care pathways
- NHS England to support the spread of good practice and the dissemination of evidence which shows the benefits of pharmacist input in GP surgeries.
In a paper published in the British Journal of General Practice last year the DDA called for collaborative working between pharmacy and general practice. Integrated [medicines] providers (GP-owned pharmacies) also have a specific section on the DDA website. DDA chairman Dr Richard West said: “The NHS… needs to continue to evolve if it is to be able to cope with the changing expectations of the people who use it. The NHS cannot afford to wait for another decade to see primary care-wide progress.”
However, the DDA also calls for caution, and in December, in response to an NHS Alliance/RPS white paper calling for more practice pharmacists, the DDA warned that moving excess pharmacy graduates into primary care “is not a panacea to our problems.”
In a letter to the Times, a retired dispensing GP calls for wider discussion of the funding model for this proposal, including universal GP dispensing.
Dr David Branford, chair of the English Pharmacy Board, said the RPS ambition was to have a pharmacy team in every GP practice. “Bringing pharmacists into the GP team will improve the quality of care for patients,” he said.