NHS long-term plan 'fantastic' for pharmacy but will require 'transformative change'

11 Janvier, 2019, 11:56 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Keith Ridge NHS long-term plan builds on strengths of pharmacy in hospitals

As reported by Digital Health, the plan sets out the NHS's goals for the next 10 years, including a deadline of 2024 for all patients "to be able to access a digital-first primary care offer".

The long-term plan published by NHS England on 7 January sets out how the extra £20.5bn previously promised for the health service in June will be spent over the next ten years.

As part of this funding, the plan describes how pharmacists and other healthcare professionals will be attached to "primary care networks" of GP surgeries that will each treat between 30,000 and 50,000 patients, with some of the money "used to substantially expand the number of clinical pharmacists".

Evidence suggests that demand for mental health services in the United Kingdom is only growing, however the current model for mental health care is unsustainable and to make improvements we must radically change our approach to overcome the constraints of tight budgets and to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients.

"We are pleased to see the increased £4.5 billion investment in primary and community care and the recognition the important role pharmacists play in Primary Care Networks".

Richard Coe, Project Director at Kajima Partnerships, a PFI/PPP provider specialising in health and education, commented on the plan: "It is extremely refreshing to see mental health becoming a political priority under the NHS 10-year Long Term Plan as mental healthcare has traditionally come second to physical health services when distributing available NHS funding".

Dukes added that a reform of community pharmacy's reimbursement arrangements is needed to ensure a real contribution from the sector to the plan.

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The NHS is frequently called upon to pick up the pieces from underfunded and means-tested social care, and so the plan's exclusive focus on the health service makes little economic sense, its critics allege.

Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association, said the plan "probably represents the start, rather than the finish, of discussions about NHS service provision in the period ahead".

Nurses working within community health crisis response services will be expected to meet guideline recommendations and deliver services within two hours of referral by 2023.

"We welcome the plan's commitment to making greater use of community pharmacists' skills and opportunities to engage patients", he said.

Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England, praised the plan as "fantastic news on pharmacy, meds op and reducing over-medication in #NHSLongTermPlan".

We are particularly supportive of the shift in focus away from hospitals to prevention and care in the community through new evidence-based NHS prevention programmes with specific action for people with long term mental health problems. I look forward to working with NHS colleagues in Lincolnshire and further afield as part of the implementation.

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