Westminster Health Forum

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The future of pharmacy services in England - integration, the developing role in public health, optimising service delivery, and learning from the COVID-19 response

Morning, Tuesday, 12th October 2021


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on next steps for the integration of community pharmacy with primary care - as well as the response to COVID-19 and lessons to take forward, and progress and next steps for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework - progress, latest developments, and priorities going forward
  • pharmacy staff training and development - priorities, including in the context of their developing clinical role going forward, with new GPhC standards for pharmacist initial education and training
  • the response to COVID-19 - what can be learned and taken forward from the role played by pharmacy, looking at:
    • adapting practice and prioritising vulnerable individuals
    • delivering the COVID-19 vaccination programme
    • providing local, accessible places for people within the community
  • public health policy developments - the role of community pharmacy within primary care networks, including patient safety, improving prevention, moving forward on integration, and providing continuity of care
  • innovation - how pharmacies are evolving, and the implications for care and the workforce, the future use of digital technology, and opportunities and next steps for optimising pharmacy delivery

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DHSC; the DIT; and the States of Guernsey.


The agenda

  • Key developments and priorities going forward for the integrated delivery of pharmacy services
  • Developing and supporting the pharmacy workforce to meet future need
  • What can be learned for the future from the delivery of pharmacy services through the pandemic, the role of pharmacy in vaccine rollout and the wider response to COVID-19
  • Pharmacy regulation - the experience of the pandemic and looking to the future
  • Driving forward the digitisation of pharmacy services, supporting integration and next steps for innovation
  • Priorities for improving pharmacy aseptic services in England
  • The role of pharmacy in primary care networks, and supporting community health and wellbeing
  • Optimising the delivery of pharmacy services and community health - workforce development, integration and improving patient care, reducing overprescribing, and the role in prevention and addressing inequalities

Key areas for discussion:

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework:

  • assessing progress on key ambitions in:
    • the CPCF - moving forward on closer working with general practice, and how this can be taken forward
    • the NHS Long Term Plan - including the increased role of pharmacists in prevention and the integration of patient care
    • the Discharge Medicines Service - outlining the critical role that pharmacies will now have in ensuring patients understand prescriptions when discharged from hospital
  • the pandemic:
    • the role of pharmacy - challenges and opportunities that the crisis has presented in advancing the role of pharmacy in the community
    • looking forward - assessing outcomes for the third year, and taking into consideration the role that pharmacy continues to play in responding to the pandemic
  • the workforce - options for further support for their work in delivering community pharmacy and safe patient care during the pandemic, and in light of the additional work for pharmacists
  • joint working - progress and outstanding issues in pharmacy working as part of an integrated care team

COVID-19 response:

  • the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service - how pharmacy has been maintaining patient access to clinical advice, including taking urgent care referrals from NHS 111
  • stepping up - looking at issues and what has been learned from:
    • how pharmacy has put in place safe methods to continue its services
    • ways that it has supported vulnerable and elderly patients, including access to domestic abuse aid through the Ask for ANI scheme
    • the use of digital and innovative methods in continuing care
  • testing - the opportunities and challenges of delivering COVID-19 testing in community pharmacy, how this fits into the wider test and trace system, and what this could look like in the long-term, with the launch of the Pharmacy Collect service for the rollout of mass rapid testing
  • vaccination - priorities for pharmacies and the key role they play in COVID-19 inoculations, as well as managing expanded winter flu vaccination programmes, with potential for more involvement in future vaccination programmes
  • funding and increased costs incurred during the pandemic - with the NPA and PSNC calling for a write-off of debt from a support package for community pharmacies involved in vaccine delivery, and funding for distributing COVID-19 tests, as well as questions over the increase of the NHS prescription charge
  • regulation - assessing:
    • priorities and options for responding to pressures, including those relating to medicines and the supply chain
    • the new role that pharmacies will take in ensuring supply
  • UK transition from the EU - assessing the impact as well as pharmacy and sector preparedness, and how challenges have been addressed

Workforce development and training:

  • new GPhC standards for training and education - what they will look like, how they will be implemented, and the impact that they will have on the functioning of the pharmacy sector
  • independent prescribing - assessing the plans to ‘incorporate the aim of people being independent prescribers at the point of registration’
  • Healthcare Science T Level - evaluating the role of the new T Level in supporting training for new pharmacists

Optimising pharmacy delivery and primary care networks:

  • public health policy priorities - progress and next steps for community pharmacy in:
    • tackling health inequalities and scaling up the prevention role of pharmacists
    • widening awareness, and providing education and training
  • integration - inclusion of clinical pharmacists in each primary care network, assessing:
    • what it means for the work of primary care networks and utilisation of community pharmacy
    • how the development of efficiencies and collaborative working can be supported 
  • service extension - assessing the increased role that pharmacy has in prescribing treatments, and the potential for future increases in these services
  • inclusivity - understanding the priorities for tailoring pharmacy services to the whole of the community in order to reduce health inequalities, following the National Plan for Inclusive Pharmacy Practice

Pharmacy aseptic services - next steps following the recommendations from Lord Carter of Coles on collaborative regional hubs, developing guidance, licencing, and the role of the Chief Pharmacist


Addressing overprescribing - in the context of the National Overprescribing Review, with discussion expected on securing efficiencies and patient benefits through:

  • coordination - to reduce over-medication across primary and secondary care
  • use of medication reviews - as well as patient-centred care, to ensure the medication meets patient needs
  • social prescribing methods - increasing adoption and use
  • information sharing - with reported proposals for wider access to healthcare data to help improve safety and help prevent medicines being wrongly prescribed

Innovation - including the use of digital methods within pharmacy:

  • learning from the pandemic - next steps for bedding in successful developments
  • online pharmacy services - assessing their impact on local pharmacies and access to medicine, with the president of the RPS advising caution when using online pharmacy services
  • accessibility - ways to ensure that digital methods improve patient choice, are inclusive and digital exclusion is minimised, and that they can provide a safe space for those that are vulnerable
  • patient safety - development of safeguards and standards for the digitisation of services and the use of online pharmacies
  • the electronic prescription service - assessing benefits including the impact of efficiency, progress in national rollout, the impact on local pharmacies, and the way forward for scaling it up across England

A scan of relevant developments:

  • Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework five-year deal: year 2 - with a focus on transitioning into improved integrated care and aligning with general practice
  • the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework five-year deal: year 3 - negotiations have started, and it is expected to look at pharmacy services and the progress of the five-year deal to date, as well as funding for COVID-19 recovery
  • the National Health Service (Charges and Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 - guidance which outlined changes to the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, and added further information regarding COVID-19 regulations
  • the Government’s White Paper on The future of health and care - with proposals to further integrate community pharmacy into the primary care pathway
  • the Medicine and Medical Devices Act - with implications for prescriptions including a ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing of prescriptions
  • New standards for initial education and training of pharmacists approved - by the GPhC Council, aimed at pharmacists playing a greater clinical role, with plans including:
    • enabling pharmacists to independently prescribe from the point of registration 
    • introducing a new set of learning outcomes that will be used to assess the full five years of education and training
    • emphasising the application of science in clinical practice
    • more focus on key skills needed for current and future roles, including professional judgement, risk management, and diagnostic and consultation skills (including remote consultations)
    • a foundation training year with strengthened supervision and support and collaborative working between higher education institutions, statutory education bodies and employers
    • greater emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion to combat discrimination and address health inequalities
  • funding - following the Spending Review, renewed calls for an increased community pharmacy budget by the National Pharmacy Association and PSNC, with warnings of closures in some parts of the country due to pressures of the pandemic
  • All-Party Pharmacy Group Flash Inquiry Report - on the response to the pandemic and the pressures pharmacies now face, with calls for greater financial support for the sector
  • High street pharmacies deliver NHS COVID jabs - the mobilisation of community pharmacies as part of the vaccination programme
  • ‘Ask for ANI’ Codeword scheme - standing for ‘Action Needed Immediately’, a new initiative run by pharmacies which allows people to talk to a trained pharmacy worker to access help if they are suffering from domestic abuse
  • Transforming NHS pharmacy aseptic services in England - the report from Lord Carter of Coles, with recommendations including:
    • creating a network of collaborative regional hub aseptic facilities to prepare large scale injectable medicines
    • working with Royal Colleges and pharmacy specialists to develop national guidance for standard injectable medicines
    • strengthening the accountability and responsibility around the unlicensed preparation of aseptic medicines, and the role of the Chief Pharmacist
  • the National Overprescribing Review - with the HSJ reporting proposals that the law should require wider access to healthcare data, to help improve safety for those wrongly prescribed drugs
  • Joint National Plan for Inclusive Pharmacy Practice by APTUK, RPS and NHSE&I - following the heightened impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority communities, it produces a framework for collaboration in the sector and opportunities to address health inequalities more widely

Policy officials attending:

Places have been reserved by officials from the Department of Health and Social Care; the Department for International Trade; and the States of Guernsey.


Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from stakeholders from across the health sector, NHS, pharmacies, Local Pharmacy Committees, CCGs, local authorities, the pharmaceutical industry, research and development organisations, executive agencies, regulators, the independent and third sector, patient groups, manufacturers, law firms and consultancies, academics and think tanks, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conferenc



Keynote Speakers

Professor Claire Anderson

Chair, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England and Professor of Social Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacy Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham

Duncan Rudkin

Chief Executive and Registrar, General Pharmaceutical Council

Keynote Speakers

Professor Claire Anderson

Chair, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England and Professor of Social Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacy Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham

Duncan Rudkin

Chief Executive and Registrar, General Pharmaceutical Council

Chairs

Paul Bristow MP

Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pharmacy

Baroness Thornton

Shadow Spokesperson for Health, House of Lords

Speakers

Ewan Maule

Head of Medicines Optimisation, NHS Sunderland CCG

Kevin Birch

Chief Retail Officer, McKesson UK

Michael Holden

Associate Director, Pharmacy Complete

Malcolm Harrison

Chief Executive, Company Chemists Association

James Roach

Managing Director, Conclusio and Former Director, NHS West Essex ICP

Dr Ian Maidment

Senior Lecturer, Clinical Pharmacy, Aston University

Peter Horrocks

Lead Pharmacist, Greater Middlesbrough Primary Care Network and Superintendent Pharmacist, Knights Pharmacy