Responding to the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, National Pharmacy Association Chief Executive, Mark Lyonette, has said, ‘People access NHS care in community pharmacies more frequently than they do any other part of the health service. So it is right that the plan states an aim to make more use of community pharmacies to engage with patients.
‘The plan clearly signals that the NHS wants pharmacists to support the prevention agenda and urgent care, and provide part of the workforce solution in primary care.
‘The guarantee of proportionately greater investment in community-based care is common sense, because care closer to home is both more convenient for patients and more cost-effective than sending people to hospital.’
He continued, ‘We are encouraged that NHS England will require measurable goals to be set for narrowing health inequalities, as a condition for receiving Long Term Plan funding for new schemes. One of the acid tests the National Pharmacy Association has set for the plan was that the poorest patients and communities must benefit from the new investment.
‘The NHS is planning for the next decade. A new, multi-year, funding settlement for community pharmacies in England is needed, to give pharmacy owners the confidence to invest in services that will meet the priorities described in the plan.’
Mark concluded, ‘The document published today probably represents the start, rather than the finish, of discussions about NHS service provision in the period ahead. The National Pharmacy Association looks forward to being involved in the ongoing conversations about how community pharmacy can make its full contribution to meeting the challenges outlined in the plan.’