Greater integration between general practice and community pharmacy encouraged

New primary care home (PCH) guide encourages greater integration between community pharmacy and general practice to improve patients’ health

 Greater integration between general practice and community pharmacy encouraged Practice BusinessA new guide has been published to inspire further integration of community pharmacy within primary care homes (PCH) to improve patients’ health and support them to manage their conditions.

While community pharmacy and general practice have traditionally worked closely together, the paper concludes that by learning from those leading the way and exploring innovative ways of working together they could have a far bigger impact on improving the health and care needs of their local population.

The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) commissioned a forum of clinical leaders within community pharmacy to examine ways of further collaboration and ensure pharmacies are integral to supporting the health and care needs within a primary care home model.

The new guide Primary care home: community pharmacy integration and innovation looks at ways local pharmaceutical committees, community pharmacies and PCHs can make greater use of pharmacists’ skills as part of a PCHs’ whole population health management approach.

It focuses on the three key roles outlined in the Community Pharmacy Forward View: a facilitator of personalised care for people with long-term conditions (LTCs), trusted, convenient first port of call for episodic healthcare advice and treatment, and a neighbourhood health and wellbeing hub.

And it proposes a list of actions to galvanise PCHs and community pharmacy to come together to create innovative solutions to the current challenges and improve services for their local population.

Dr James Kingsland, NAPC President, said: “Through the primary care home model, we want to take joint working much further so that community pharmacies are integral to supporting the health and care needs of their local population. Our aim at the NAPC is to bring all the primary care contractor services together within a PCH to come up with innovative solutions to the current challenges facing the NHS and make a real difference to patients, improving their health and wellbeing.”

Michael Lennox, Chief Officer of Somerset Local Pharmaceutical Committee, who chaired the forum said: “We hope this guide will be a starting point to strengthen and foster new relationships between community pharmacy and general practice, inspiring them to explore the opportunities that exist for greater integration and maximising the skills that pharmacists can offer.”

Ash Soni, NAPC Executive member and President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “Historically, there have sometimes been tensions between pharmacy and general practice on who provides what for patients and public.

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This is an important document to enable pharmacy and general practice to collaborate effectively within primary care homes to provide enhanced care and outcomes to the populations they both serve by recognising the strengths and capabilities of pharmacists and their teams.”

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee: “The primary care home model is at the heart of NHS plans to support the sustainability of general practice and the development of fully integrated primary care services.

I hope local pharmaceutical committees and PCH sites will use this guidance to kick-start better collaborative working between community pharmacies and general practices, for the ultimate benefit of patients and the NHS. Such collaborative working is also essential to secure a sustainable future for community pharmacy services.”

Dr Jonathan Cope, GP at Beacon Medical Group PCH, said: “At Beacon Medical Group we made a conscious decision to embrace our clinical colleagues in our neighbouring community pharmacies.

Our joint flu vaccination campaign not only improved take-up rates in some key patient groups, it also helped to strengthen lines of communication and trust between GPs and community pharmacists. In our experience, collaboration is an important part of building a sustainable future for health.”

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Steven launched the primary care home programme in the autumn of 2015, 15 rapid test sites were selected in December 2015. It has since expanded to more than 200 sites across England, serving eight million patients, 16% of the population.

Developed by the NAPC, the model is an innovative approach to strengthening and redesigning primary care. It brings together a range of health and care professionals to provide enhanced personalised and preventative care for their local community. It is one of the ways of delivering a primary care network and is featured in the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View as part of the practical delivery plans to transform primary care over the next two years. For more information on the primary care home programme, visit https://napc.co.uk/primary-care-home/

The guide is available on the NAPC website https://napc.co.uk.

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