Fri 14 Nov 2014

Care must be delivered locally for NHS to survive

 In response to today’s news that the Department of Health are calling on the public to use their pharmacy to treat common winter ailments and get general healthy living advice, Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice said:

“For the NHS to survive far more care needs to be delivered locally. Community pharmacy should be a core part of this and it is very promising that the Secretary of State is encouraging more people to make better use of their pharmacy team to deal with the common conditions we all suffer with from time to time. NHS England has also actively promoted pharmacy as a key first contact point for care over the past year through campaigns such as “feeling under the weather”, messaging which is consistent with the “treat yourself better with pharmacist advice” message we are promoting with our colleagues at PAGB . Up to 20% of a GP’s time can be spent dealing with the common ailments such as colds, coughs and hay fever that can be dealt with by a pharmacy so there could be significant benefits across the health service to greater involvement of pharmacy.  If we are to achieve the kind of shift in the patterns of care needed to relieve the pressures that continue to build across the NHS, then we need to kick start that change across the whole system.  Simply giving greater funding to hospitals and GPs  will not enable primary care as a whole to help.  Commissioners need to look more closely at what pharmacy can deliver, including recognising that under-doctored does not mean an absence of primary care. Beyond this we need to support the public more; helping people to self-care will help to slow the build-up in doctors’ waiting rooms and accident and emergency departments, leaving them free to deal with the patients they need to see.”