Two influential health think tanks, The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust, have proposed that high street pharmacies should take responsibility for managing patients with asthma and high blood pressure. These plans, commissioned by Community Pharmacy England (CPE), would also enable pharmacists to refer patients directly for scans, blood tests, and to hospitals and specialists.
To implement this vision, changes to the law would be necessary to allow pharmacists to give medicine to patients even without a pharmacist physically present in the pharmacy. Additionally, fresh funding for the sector would need to be acquired.
The report highlights several barriers that need to be addressed in order to expand the services provided by pharmacies. This includes a lack of investment in buildings, IT systems, and staff across primary care, as well as insufficient management capabilities.
The proposal is seen as a way to alleviate the pressure on GPs and hospitals, particularly in managing patients with chronic conditions such as asthma and high blood pressure. By utilizing the expertise of pharmacists, who are easily accessible to the public on the high street, it is hoped that patients can receive more convenient and efficient care.
The potential involvement of pharmacies in managing these conditions could also lead to earlier detection and intervention, preventing the progression of symptoms and reducing the burden on healthcare services.
While more work is needed to determine the feasibility and implementation details, the proposal has sparked discussions about the potential benefits of expanding the role of pharmacies in healthcare. This includes the potential for improved patient outcomes, reduced healthcare costs, and better integration of services within the community.
Overall, this initiative presents an opportunity to maximize the role of pharmacies and pharmacists in patient care, facilitating greater accessibility, convenience, and collaboration across healthcare settings.
– The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust report, commissioned by Community Pharmacy England.