NHS England 'should align' GP and pharmacy contracts, pressure groups suggest
GP and community pharmacy contracts need to be ‘aligned’ if plans for pharmacists to take workload off GPs are to be realised, the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has suggested.
Together with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the organisation has launched a consultation to gauge the views of the professions on a number of proposals including new contractual levers to encourage joint caring for patients.
Proposals include making making community pharmacists the main access point for patients with minor self-limiting conditions and the setting up of a ‘joint population health framework’ that would reward pharmacists for things like identifying patients with long-term conditions and managing these jointly with their GP.
The groups also suggest giving pharmacists access to patient records where the patient has requested it.
The consultation document, which comes after NHS England announced last month that it will invest £15m to recruit clinical pharmacists to work in GP practices, said NHS England should now ‘make clear’ its intention to drive joint working between GP practices and pharmacies by taking the ‘opportunity to align services and incentives in a way that delivers patient benefit’ rather than the current structure of ‘being competitive’.
The document said: ‘[T]his would be a helpful signal to both professions about their future role.’
Dr Nav Chana, chair of the NAPC said: ‘The opportunities for greater collaboration could have a big impact on the workload pressure for general practice and hence the importance of this consultation at this time.’
Sandra Gidley RPS Board chair said: ’If we are to move away from the treadmill of dispensing to a role where our clinical skills are recognised and valued by the public then the payment structures we currently work under will need to change. These proposals are designed to test the appetite for that.’