Pharmacies

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Bim Afolami: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to implement the recommendations of the independent review of community pharmacy clinical services commissioned by the NHS.

Steve Brine: The implementation of the National Health Service Five Year Forward View has taken into account the findings of the Murray Review. NHS England has seen progress in a number of areas to implement the recommendations. For example the Pharmacy Integration Fund has supported a pilot in the North East of referral from NHS 111 to community pharmacies for minor illness and the national ‘stay well campaign’ continues to highlight the role of community pharmacy in this area. We are aware of locally commissioned schemes addressing hypertension. The Pharmacy Integration Fund is also supporting the roll out of clinical pharmacists in general practice and in care homes with additional training to award independent prescriber status.

Bim Afolami: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department has taken to roll-out a minor ailments scheme through community pharmacies as recommended by the independent review of community pharmacy clinical services.

Steve Brine: Minor ailment services are currently commissioned locally by the National Health Service according to need. However a national minor illness scheme is in development, building on a pilot digital minor illness referral service (DMIRS) that commenced last year in the North East. This scheme provides direct referrals from NHS 111 to community pharmacy. Three further DMIRS pilots, supported by the Pharmacy Integration Fund, are due to be launched by early autumn 2018, in Devon, London (in a phased approach), and East Midlands. The areas will be adopting the same model used in the North East with some minor adaptations dependent on the local NHS 111 case mix. An evaluation will inform any next steps for the project.

Bim Afolami: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the merits of community pharmacist supplementary and independent prescribing clinics in Scotland for England.

Steve Brine: The Scottish Government will shortly be conducting a review of community pharmacy supplementary and independent prescribing clinics. The Department will consider carefully the findings of this review.

In England, the Pharmacy Integration Fund is being used to support the employment of pharmacists, who are able to prescribe and access the full clinical record within integrated urgent care, general practice and care homes. These pharmacists are well placed to work alongside the wider medical team to optimise the use of medicines and improve clinical effectiveness.

Bim Afolami: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the merits of proposals to permit community pharmacists to identify and manage uncomplicated cases of hypertension as part of the forthcoming community pharmacy funding negotiations.

Steve Brine: Ministers recognise the value and skillset of community pharmacists and their teams with several programmes of work, supported by the Pharmacy Integration Fund, already investigating how we can better utilize their knowledge and expertise in a wide range of primary care settings. The Department is unable to comment on the specifics of the forthcoming negotiations. However any suggested amendments to services delivered under the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, brought forward by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, will be discussed and considered carefully.

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