The National Pharmacy Association has published a report calling for a greater role for community pharmacy in addressing the NHS’s “chronic access problem”. The report follows an NPA survey highlighting that 80 per cent of people believe access to NHS care has decreased over the past decade, and that 90 per cent of people agree with entrusting pharmacists with more NHS services in order to widen access and relieve GP pressures.
The NHS has a chronic access problem, and too often there are long waits for advice and treatment. Community pharmacy – a walk in service near to where people live, work and shop - is surely part of the solution.
By developing local pharmacies as neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres, and allowing pharmacists to put their clinical skills to full use, more capacity can be released into an NHS system under very severe strain.
Local pharmacies should become people’s front door to health - dramatically improving access to healthcare, face to face and close to home.
Our ‘See You Sooner’ aspirations:
- There should be no unnecessary barriers to receiving appropriate care in a timely fashion.
- For the treatment of minor ailments such as coughs and colds, no-one should have to wait to see a doctor. Instead there should be fewer limitations on the range of NHS treatments that local pharmacists are able to supply, without the patient needing to go to a GP for a prescription.
- For the routine management of their medicines for stable long term conditions, no-one should have to wait to see a doctor. Instead, people should be fully supported in their local pharmacy to understand, review and if necessary modify medicines (as part of an integrated primary care team)
- People in all parts of the country should have an option to access health checks such as blood pressure at local pharmacies. Currently there is only patchy commissioning of health checks in community pharmacies.