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NHS Commissioning Board promises urgent action to support specialist pharmacy services

By News team

Urgent action will be taken to ensure specialist pharmacy services are supported through the commissioning changes in England, the NHS Commissioning Board has said in response to Royal Pharmaceutical Society concerns.

The RPS wrote to the NHSCB’s director of patient safety Mike Durkin to raise concerns that satisfactory transitional arrangements for the funding and delivery of specialist pharmacy services were not yet apparent. In a letter of response, Dr Durkin has reassured the Society that suitable arrangements are being put in place. One commissioning support unit in each region will assume responsibility for commissioning or hosting these services, he said.

The developments were discussed last week (22 January 2013) at a meeting of the Society’s English Pharmacy Board. In a statement released after the meeting, chairman of the board Shilpa Gohil said: "I am reassured that there will be an urgent review, supported by the RPS, of the services to determine the best long-term and sustainable model for deployment and funding. It is essential that these pharmacist-led specialist services are maintained."

Ongoing work is under way at the RPS to ensure that clinical and professional pharmacy roles are maintained in the new NHS structure, and that existing pharmaceutical expertise is retained, said Mrs Gohil."[The expertise] currently within cancer networks needs to be sustained in the new system. . . . There is also a wider point here about the need for the new strategic clinical networks to access specialist clinical pharmacy advice."

She added: "The RPS would be happy to work with [the] chief pharmaceutical officer and others as appropriate, to provide professional and clinical views as to how pharmacy leadership can be integrated into the new NHS structure."

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11115960

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