The founders of the National Pharmacy Association, 100 years ago, could barely have foreseen what today’s pharmacists are doing to keep people well and save lives.
What would they have made of pharmacy-based vaccinations, pharmacist prescribing, healthy living champions, dispensing robots, electronic prescriptions, video consultations, GP referrals and point of care tests in pharmacies? Potentially game-changing technologies like pharmaco-genomics could soon be in play too.
Change is a constant. So how should community pharmacy continue its evolution as a patient-facing health and wellbeing service, meeting the ever-changing needs of the population?
The NPA believes the future is clinical, integrated and community based, married to medicines supply; supply plus service, not supply or service.
But what do our stakeholders think – especially patients, the NHS and fellow health care professionals, as well as own members?
This video – specially recorded for the NPA’s centenary in 2021 – reveals a high degree of consensus about what the long term future could hold for a can-do profession such as ours.
NHS England Director of Primary Care, Ed Waller:
“Pharmacies have played a massive role keeping people well [during the pandemic]…This is hopefully only going to get built upon over the next couple of years as we together work to transform community pharmacy to make it a more clinical setting, delivering a wider range of clinical services as well as helping people with their medicines.”
Dr Farzana Hussain (GP and clinical director):
“The future of primary care is definitely collaboration. I hope that over the country we will be able to adopt some of the good practice that I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of with our community pharmacists because the future is all of us working together.”
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, Keith Ridge:
“We have a well-established direction of travel for pharmacy and medicines optimisation set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. That includes the ongoing expansion of the clinical role of the community pharmacist in multi-professional primary care teams.”
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland:, Alison Strath:
“I am really excited for the opportunities that lie ahead for community pharmacy in Scotland, expanding Pharmacy First, embedding independent prescribing right across the community pharmacy network, helping improve women’s health, supporting hospital discharge and reviewing pharmacy’s role in unscheduled care.”
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales, Andrew Evans:
“There will be opportunities for community pharmacy to play a much fuller role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of people in Wales. They include better integration into primary care, opportunities for independent prescribing and reforms to education and training.”
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Northern Ireland, Cathy Harrison:
“I can see that things are looking brighter for community pharmacy in Northern Ireland with ambitious plans in place for workforce development, independent prescribing, regulation of technicians and investment in IT.”
Executive director of Day Lewis pharmacies, Jay Patel:
“I can see us providing an array of clinical services covering diagnosis of new conditions, acute treatments of walk-in patients, managing patients on long-term conditions and then building on the excellent prevention work that we’ve done with both the flu and Covid vaccinations into other vaccinations and other prevention services going forward.”
NPA Chair Andrew Lane:
“We will have to tackle the issues of genomics and AI, so I think it’s really important that what we do as pharmacists is prepare ourselves for that transition. It won’t happen overnight.”
National Voices (patient organisation) chief executive, Charlotte Augst:
“We’ve heard a lot from people during this last year and a half about how hard it has been to get access to good health care and I think it has reminded all of us what an important offer community pharmacy makes in that context. It’s very embedded in a place, which is something we’re all talking about now. Its importance also comes from the fact that it’s very easy to navigate and it’s very easy to understand what the offer is.”