Report urges stakeholders to engage with community pharmacy

A new report looking at how community pharmacy will work as part of Integrated Care Systems (ICS) lists seven requirements to help bring the best out of the sector.

Co-authored by the NHS Confederation, the National Pharmacy Association and the Primary Care Pharmacy Association, the report highlights the key themes of a roundtable discussion in July, involving primary care networks, primary care federations and other stakeholders in local systems.

Seven key requirements to ensure that the benefits of involving community pharmacy are realised are identified in the report:

  • Community pharmacists must be given the time and space to get involved in working through the development of local services with their primary care colleagues.
  • Community pharmacy and general practice need to work through some of the historical perceptions of their relationship as providers being one of competition and move to a position of collaboration as providers and a single voice for primary care. 
  • To achieve change at scale, service developments must be translated into a national contract specification for local adoption with the ability for some local flexibility to be applied to meet the specific needs of a local population.
  • Nationally specified services should be properly resourced, recognising that commercial viability is a valid request by contractors in the NHS.
  • ICSs must support the implementation of nationally specified services backed up with appropriate mechanisms to involve community pharmacy in decision-making at all levels and resources available to enable this.
  • An appropriate information technology and information governance framework is needed to support data sharing and facilitate the development of local services and the implementation of national services.
  • An appropriate medico/legal framework is needed which recognises the role of pharmacists as independent prescribers and resolves issues relating to conflicts of interest.

Dr Graham Jackson, GP and Senior Clinical Advisor at the NHS Confederation chaired the discussion said:

“It is critical that all available clinical capacity is used effectively. Our report examines the opportunities of collaboration with community pharmacy and identifies key enablers available to local systems, as well as addressing barriers.”

“We urge PCN clinical directors, primary care federation leaders and others locally to support community pharmacists to navigate the emerging NHS structures and thoroughly consider what pharmacies can bring to the table in terms of urgent care, public health, medicines optimisation and more.”

Andrew Lane, NPA chair said:

“The covid-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the value of working collaboratively across systems. Community pharmacy can deliver most as an integral part of the system rather than being seen as an adjunct to the main action.  The sector has an important role to play as a full partner within PCNs, with primary care federations and Integrated Care systems.

“Medicines safety and optimisation is widely recognised as part of pharmacy’s unique skill set but increasingly community pharmacy will collaborate with partners in primary care to deliver integrated clinical services to the population.

“This report shows that community pharmacists are not a voice in the wilderness within the NHS.  It is fantastic to have the NHS confederation weighing in with their encouragement.”

The report will be distributed to primary care networks, primary care federations and other stakeholders in local systems. You can read the full report here.

Pharmacy in Practice announces new Clinical Director

Stephen-Andrew Whyte

Pharmacy in Practice has announced the recruitment of its first-ever Clinical Director. Stephen-Andrew Whyte will take on the role of providing innovative leadership to further bolster the training offers provided by Pharmacy in Practice.

Stephen is a registered pharmacist and advanced clinical practitioner with experience in critical care, emergency care and general paediatrics. He has a background in paediatric and neonatal pharmacy and healthcare education.

Stephen was the first pharmacist in the UK to be recognised as an advanced clinical practitioner, and the first pharmacist to undertake a HEE Clinical Fellowship in Urgent and Acute Care. He also led an innovative pilot training pharmacists as advanced clinical practitioners in urgent and emergency care.

Stephen has just ended a two-and-a-half-year period as the course director for the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice (Child) course at London South Bank University and will shortly take up the position of Professional Lead for Advanced Clinical Practice at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

Stephen is a member of the General Pharmaceutical Council, a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, an Affiliate member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and an associate member of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

His current research interests include advanced practice curriculum design and implementation and technological mental health interventions for children and young people. 

Clinical Director of Pharmacy in Practice Stephen-Andrew Whyte commented:

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to put my varied experiences to good use in this new position of Clinical Director at Pharmacy in Practice. I look forward to shaping the future of pharmacy education and training.” 

Director of Pharmacy in Practice Johnathan Laird said:

“I am delighted to welcome Stephen onto the Pharmacy in Practice team as our first-ever Clinical Director. Stephen has an exemplary career to date and has shown considerable leadership within the education scene particularly around competence based training and advanced practice.

“Whilst there are many reasons to be excited to work with Stephen I particularly admire and appreciate how he has sought to influence education beyond his own profession. Whilst we are both passionate about creating a well-respected pharmacist-led training provider we also need to look beyond our own profession to show leadership. Pharmacists have so much to offer but we must first understand and carve out our own professional identity.

“We have plans to deploy a large library of online learning on PIP. Stephen will guide this work and ensure quality is built in from the outset. Stephen’s experience will bring an innovative student-centred approach.

“The world has changed and the playing field has levelled giving organisations like Pharmacy in Practice the opportunity to lead within their niche. I feel that the new environment has meant that we should question everything in terms of how we connect and build our networks. Remote working is now the norm and remote learning is no different.

“Pharmacy, and in particular community pharmacy, requires significant investment. Pharmacists and their teams deserve the infrastructure, time and expertise to truly realise their potential. We will drive this investment into the sector over the coming months and years.

“In the new year, we will take 60 independent pharmacist prescribers through a novel micro-credential programme. In my view, this will set a significant precedent and change the way community pharmacists in particular seek to develop their professional competence portfolio.

“Independent prescribing and autonomous practice by pharmacists is certainly here to stay and we will be ready to support.”

‘Pharmacy Collect’ service launches for rapid Covid-19 tests in NI

The Health Minister in Northern Ireland has launched a new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service which enables people to collect rapid Covid-19 tests from selected community pharmacies.

To date, 420 pharmacies in Northern Ireland have signed up for the scheme.

Rapid tests are available for anyone who requires them in Northern Ireland. All results should be reported. Where someone receives a positive test, they should immediately self-isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test.

The Health Minister Robin Swann commented:

“Alongside vaccination and contact tracing, testing is one of the main pillars of protection against the virus.” 

“1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms or are pre-symptomatic. The introduction of the Pharmacy Collect service will significantly increase the range of locations that people who require rapid tests can access them.

The service supplements the existing workforce testing schemes and other community collect sites, which can all be found using the Sitefinder website.

“By engaging in rapid COVID testing, we can help keep each other safe and play our part in helping society return to normality.”

Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer said:

“The contribution of community pharmacy teams to the Covid-19 pandemic response has been invaluable and the introduction of the new Pharmacy Collect service will improve access to testing for the general public.

“This is another step forward to people getting their normal lives back. Many people with Covid-19 have mild or no symptoms, but they can continue to spread the virus. Rapid tests, in conjunction with the wearing of masks, regular hand washing and social distancing, can help to prevent onward transmission of the virus.”

Vice-Chair of Community Pharmacy NI, Peter Rice said:

“The introduction of the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) distribution service to community pharmacy will greatly increase the public’s access to testing at a crucial time. As we enter what is expected to be an even more difficult period for our health service, tests will now be available for collection from over 400 community pharmacies throughout Northern Ireland. By increasing access to testing at a local level we can help to prevent the transmission of the virus within our communities.

“This further demonstrates the desire of our community pharmacy network to deliver new services throughout the course of the pandemic. Having this service in our pharmacies is another significant step forward and supplements our role in the vaccination effort to date.”


Boots partner with Deliveroo

Boots UK and Deliveroo have announced a new partnership launching at 14 pilot stores across the country. The partnership with Deliveroo marks its first on-demand delivery partnership. 

The partnership with Deliveroo allows Boots UK to provide even greater speed to customers that need it in as little as 20 minutes. 

Deliveroo’s UK customer base now has access to more than 400 Boots products on demand. The range includes: 

  • Medicines for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, hay fever and mild pain.
  • Bestselling beauty including No7, The Inkey List and CeraVe.
  • Toiletries and skincare favourites like tampons, deodorant and body lotion 
  • Baby essentials from nappies to milk formula as well as children’s medicines like Calpol.
  • Food and drink options with an assortment of sandwiches, snacks and drinks.

Boots have said they saw a continued rise in online sales during successive lockdowns. Orders on boots.com were up 85% between 1st March 2020 and 1st March 2021 compared to the same period the previous year and continue on a strong trajectory. 

Paula Bobbett, Director of boots.com at Boots UK, said:

“We are very excited about this new partnership with Deliveroo and have carefully selected over 400 products for its launch to help our customers get the things they need, when they need them. It will be super handy for times when you need something urgently but can’t leave the house, like if you’re feeling unwell or are looking after your kids. Our online business continues to grow and this partnership offers our customers a new way to access our products quickly and easily.” 

Carlo Mocci, Chief Business Officer UKI at Deliveroo, added: 

“We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Boots in 14 stores across the country. Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer and the top consumer choice for high-quality and popular products. This partnership will mean more choice and selection for our consumers, delivered in as little as 20 minutes, and will create more work for riders across the UK.” 

The Pharmacist Defence Association commented on Twitter:


Community pharmacy features in Scottish women’s health plan

A plan to improve health and reduce inequalities for women in Scotland has been published by the Scottish Government.

The plan features the idea to set up a women’s health community pharmacy service.

The Women’s Health Plan sets out 66 actions to ensure ‘all women enjoy the best possible healthcare throughout their lives.

Key actions include:

  • Appointing a national Women’s Health Champion and a Women’s Health Lead in every NHS board.
  • Establishing a Women’s Health Research Fund to close gaps in scientific and medical knowledge.
  • Providing a central platform for women’s health information on NHS Inform.
  • Setting up a Women’s Health Community Pharmacy service.
  • Commissioning endometriosis research to develop better treatment and management, and a cure.
  • Developing a menopause and menstrual health workplace policy, and promoting it across the public, private and Third Sector.
  • Improving information and public awareness of heart disease symptoms and risks for women.

Women’s Health Minister Maree Todd said:

“Our vision for women’s health is an ambitious one – and rightly so. It is clear that wider change must happen to ensure all our health and social care services meet the needs of all women, everywhere.

“Women’s health is not just a women’s issue. When women and girls are supported to lead healthy lives and fulfil their potential, the whole of society benefits.

“Together, we are working to address inequalities in all aspects of health that women are facing. The Women’s Health Plan signals our ambition and determination to see change for women in Scotland, for their health and for their role in society. We want Scotland to be a world leader when it comes to women’s health.”

Head of British Heart Foundation Scotland James Jopling said:

“Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in women in Scotland and kills nearly three times as many as women as breast cancer. At every stage – from the moment they experience symptoms through to their cardiac rehabilitation – women with heart disease can face disadvantages. We need to improve our understanding of the risks for women and increase their awareness of the symptoms of a heart attack.

“We must also promote equality of treatment for women with heart disease within the healthcare system, at every point in their journey. The publication of the Women’s Health Plan, with heart health as a priority, is a welcome step to tackle these inequalities and we look forward to working together to help save and improve lives.”

Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Dr Pat O’Brien said:

“We welcome Scotland’s commitment to this ambitious and detailed plan as a key marker to making improvements to healthcare services for all women from different backgrounds. 

“We are pleased to see the Women’s Health Plan adopts an approach to prioritise the health and wellbeing of women throughout every stage of their lives, and ensure they can access care when they need it  – something we called for in our Better for Women report.

“It is important that all women are included and consulted about how health services can fit their needs. This Plan has been developed with extensive consultation with a diverse group of women, ensuring that the health service is inclusive and respectful, and can work to focus on closing inequalities in women’s health experience and outcomes.”

The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Alison Strath commented on Twitter:

Director or Operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland Matt Barclay commented on Twitter:


RPS react to English community pharmacy funding deal

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has reacted to the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) that was announced for the year 2021/22 earlier today.

Thorrun Govind, Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said:

“There are some positive steps on supporting pharmacists’ clinical role, including blood pressure diagnosis, and the expansion of the New Medicines Service.

“We know that community pharmacy can play a key role in helping manage increasing demand on the NHS, but collaboration and support for implementation will be key to making new services a success.

“Pharmacists have been on the frontline throughout the pandemic. We are disappointed that the positive impact demonstrated by community pharmacy has not been recognised through increased investment. This is a real-terms funding cut delivered through the frozen core funding. Pharmacists working in community pharmacy will understandably be demoralised by this.

“Community pharmacy is an exciting and interesting place to work and pharmacists’ clinical skills must be utilised long-term. The greater use of Pharmacist Independent Prescribers to expand patient access to care will support this and we look forward to publication of more details on additional funding for training.”

Read more here.