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Buckman: GPs need 'stronger links' with pharmacists

GPs have been urged to work closely with local pharmacists to ‘maximise the benefits' of the new pharmacy contract.

The GPC, NHS Employers and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) have issued a joint statement calling for ‘crucial progress' in local communications in the run-up to the implementation of the New Medicine Service (NMS) as part of the pharmacy contract on October 1st.

Pulse reported in March that ministers would introduce the £110 million NMS for people with long-term conditions to help improve their medicines adherence and reduce medicines wastage.

At the time, NHS Employers said the changes brought the community pharmacy contract in line with the Government's QIPP efficiency drive.

It came after ministers acted on a damning report which found pharmacist medicines use reviews, the precursors of the NMS, were often performed in a ‘perfunctory' manner and were ‘of limited value'.

The three representative organisations have come together to form a professional relationship working group, which has written to LMCs and local pharmaceutical committees, ‘asking them to encourage and facilitate local conversations about the NMS, with a focus on the immediate need for communication processes to be set up locally between pharmacists and GPs.'

‘It is crucial that these conversations start to take place now to ensure the services have the best chance of success in helping patients to use their medicines more effectively.'

The working party has also published a guide for GPs explaining the changes to the pharmacy contract and how they could affect practices, and a feedback form that the pharmacist can send back to a GP practice if they have identified a problem which requires GPs to review a prescription.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘If both professions can form stronger links it will benefit both them and their patients. LMCs and LPCs are ideally placed to make this happen.'

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