We welcome this investment from the NHS E/I. It is a positive step towards the greater integration of community pharmacy care into the NHS. It is vital for the NHS that patients can benefit from the clinical services set out in the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.
Ultimately however, at a time where pharmacies are being pushed to do more and more, efforts to speed up introducing the new clinical services needs to be supported with sustainable funding and material actions to increase workforce numbers in the sector. We are concerned that without the funding and people in place, the desired volume of necessary services cannot be delivered, no matter how well coordinated.
If workforce shortages and sustainable funding can be addressed, then these new roles must build on local relationships with pharmacy professionals and recognise specific local needs. Any local variation to support national processes risks adding further barriers to implementation. A key responsibility should be to share best practice across ICS organisations to support patients and systems that cross ICS boundaries.