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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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a pharmacist checking blood pressure cbNovember 24 2017

Community pharmacy representatives should be more closely involved in healthcare commissioning decisions, a new think tank report is proposing. 

Local commissioning structures, such as clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and strategic transformation partnerships (STPs) should “incorporate a pharmacy representative as a mandatory part of their strategic decision-making,” says ResPublica. Its report calls for a “paradigm shift” in transforming primary care and giving community pharmacy a more integrated role.

Community pharmacies should also be involved in providing health check, it says, with a particular focus on hypertension, for all working-age adults. To do so, local authorities should channel a percentage of the public health grant to local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs), depending on their calculation of local need.

The recommendations are made in the report ‘Heartbeats on the high street’. The National Pharmacy Association commissioned ResPublica “to produce a report into the place of pharmacy in society, with a particular focus on the socio-economic challenges facing the UK – and pharmacy’s unique role in solving them.” It has been produced with input from pharmacy, primary care and socio-economic experts, but independent of the NPA.

The report says: “In order to respond to this enhanced role, community pharmacy itself would benefit from standardising its offer and scaling up. We therefore call on LPCs to establish a quality improvement programme, led by PSNC, with two main objectives: first, to support and develop community pharmacy in its engagement with commissioners; and second, to support and develop community pharmacy’s delivery of services.”

The envisaged programme would be similar to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) used in general practice.

The NPA has welcomed the “central message” that “pharmacies perform a vital function in society which is as much about community as it is about healthcare.

“The report also endorses our longstanding assertion that community pharmacies have transformational potential in primary care and public health. Furthermore, the author reminds us of the special place that community pharmacy holds in many deprived communities,” said the NPA.

“We are delighted that the report recognises that pharmacies are ideally placed to take centre stage in identifying high blood pressure. There is a specific proposal in the report to make regular NHS blood pressure checks available in pharmacies to the entire adult population. For this to make health-economic sense, pharmacies must also be empowered to provide wrap around care before, during and after a health check – actively managing risk to reduce pressure on the wider health system.”

Blood Pressure UK, the charity “dedicated to lowering the nation's blood pressure to prevent disability and death from stroke and heart disease,” has issued commented on the recommendations.

Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK, said: “Around one in three people in the UK are now living with high blood pressure which remains the single biggest cause of death. What’s more, a shocking 6.5 million people still remain undiagnosed. Blood Pressure UK supports this health check initiative, as we encourage everyone to make a habit of knowing their blood pressure numbers, as this is the first step to reducing their blood pressure and risk of stroke and heart attack.”

Links:
NPA announcement of report     
Dr James Noyes. ‘Heartbeats on the High Street - How Community Pharmacy can transform Britain’s Health, Wealth and Wellbeing’. ResPublica. Nov 2017                  
NPA response     
Blood Pressure UK comment       

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