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Better use of community pharmacy could achieve White Paper aims

By News team

Extending community pharmacy’s involvement in diagnostic testing, medicines management and public health initiatives could significantly improve the nation’s health, according to a report published today (9 December 2010) by the School of Pharmacy, University of London, and Alliance Boots (PDF 535K).

“Making a difference” considers proposals for healthcare in England set out in the recent White Paper, “Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS”. It suggests that a number of the aims set out in the White Paper can be achieved through better use of community pharmacy, including:

  1. National commissioning of public health services in areas such as immunisation, smoking cessation and weight reduction
  2. Giving patients control over their health records, so those who want to make fuller use of pharmacy services can grant their pharmacist access
  3. Extended assessment and diagnostic testing of patients for conditions such as HIV and hepatitis B and C infection, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and excessive alcohol use
  4. Better targeting of medicines use reviews
  5. Establishing initiatives such as Scotland’s chronic medication service elsewhere in the UK
  6. Supporting more effective use of medicines for common conditions
  7. Remunerating pharmacists in a way that facilitates not only support for patients starting new treatments, but also support for those who might have difficulty taking their medicines

Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring continued service development, and need to make “progressively greater contributions to the safe and cost- and clinically effective use of medicines and to individual and public health improvement,” the report says.

Commissioners also need to be aware of the services that community pharmacy offers and the additional support it will be able to provide as technologies improve and public expectations continue to change, it adds.

Lead author of the report David Taylor, professor of pharmaceutical and public health policy at the school, said: “Our analysis indicates that at least a million people in this country could benefit significantly from earlier diagnoses and improved access to effective pharmaceutical care, including medicines-taking support.”

Pharmacists need to work constructively with GPs and other health professionals to offer patients more choice over their health care, and provide more integrated support for those with complex needs, he said.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11050940

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