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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

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PSNC highlights role for pharmacy following out-of-hours care concerns

PSNC has today emphasised how better use of community pharmacies by the NHS could ease pressures across the health service.

The comments followed a report last week in which The Patients Association voiced concerns over local out of hours care. The results of a survey of more than 3,000 of its members showed that four out of five people did not feel safe relying on out-of-hours care.

Sixty-one per cent said they had to wait longer than 48 hours to book a doctor’s appointment, while more than half said the process could have been easier or was difficult.

The Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy has suggested that this issue could be resolved through better use of community-based care. She advised clinical commissioning groups to raise awareness of the care options available to patients.

PSNC strongly believes that community pharmacy is best placed to help address some of the challenges facing primary care.

Chief Executive Sue Sharpe said:

“NHS services, including those offered by GPs both in and out-of-hours, are stretched more than ever before at the moment under the combined pressures of financial constraints and increasing demand for services. It would therefore be no surprise to see some services beginning to buckle under that pressure.

The harsh efficiency targets being set for the NHS mean that there are more challenges yet to come, but PSNC believes that, with the right systems and rewards in place, community pharmacy can be an important part of the solution.

As I set out earlier this year, creating a third pillar of the NHS, with community pharmacy at its heart, will be key to easing pressure on the health service and ensuring the survival of the NHS long-term. Through medicines optimisation services pharmacies can ensure that the NHS is getting the very best value it can from the drugs bill; healthy living advice offered in the pharmacy environment can encourage patients to care for themselves and stop them needing health services in the first place; and through properly funded and implemented minor ailments schemes pharmacies can free up a significant part of GP time and further promote self-care.

PSNC believes that expanding pharmacy’s role in these and other key areas would bring benefits for patients, other healthcare providers and the NHS, alike.”

Posted 25 March 2013

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