Regardless of the financial strains, the NHS is in community pharmacies are and always will be important to the public, with 1.6 million people visiting a community pharmacy every day in England.
Now the Government have stated, under The NHS Long Term Plan, they want to use community pharmacists’ clinical skills to help tackle the challenges facing the NHS.
What does this mean for the future? Community pharmacists are likely to spend less of their time dispensing. The focus will instead be to provide services that help people to stay healthy (including prevention and treating minor illnesses) and take the pressure off other NHS services, such as urgent care.
PSNC, the ‘team’ used to negotiate the NHS contractual changes with the Government on behalf of community pharmacies, have stated that “community pharmacists must adapt”. Adapting in ways by making “better use of technology and other team member skills to free pharmacists’ time” and to “update their own skills to provide the services with the NHS needs”.
PSNC has also stated that if community pharmacies show they’re ready and able to provide new services, new opportunities will follow. We will all be eagerly waiting to see what these “new” opportunities within community pharmacies really are.