[Katie Spence, Consultant in Public Health and Jeff Blankley, Chair of Wolverhampton LPC to present a report in relation to funding reductions to community pharmacies]
The Director for Public Health introduced a report to update and identify any further opportunities to support community pharmacy services across Wolverhampton. The Director for Public Health introduced Katie Spence – Consultant in Public Health and Jeff Blankley – Chair of the Wolverhampton Local Pharmaceutical Committee to the Panel.
Mr Blankley provided a presentation to the Panel.
There were 74 community pharmacies in Wolverhampton providing a range of services, from dispensing medicines and self-care support through to public health promotion. NHS England commissioned community pharmacies, with CCGs, public health departments and others commissioning specific additional services.
In December 2015, the government announced that funding for community pharmacies in 2016/17 would be reduced by £170 million. The cut was a reduction of more than 6% in cash terms.
It had been expected that the reduction would be implemented in October 2016, however after the change of Government (post-Brexit), pharmacy minister announced that the proposed funding reduction would not be implemented.
It was thought that there was a lack of understanding in relation to pharmacies and Officers were keen to communication to members of the public what was on offer. It was stated that many pharmacies already operated with a 7 day a week mind-set with some also opening late. The training to become a pharmacist took 5 years and it was thought that one of the roles of the pharmacist was to help treat people before they became unwell.
The Panel queried what action the pharmacist could take if they became aware of customers consistently purchasing non-prescription medication such as paracetamol. Officers stated that in circumstances such as this the Pharmacist could refer the customer to the GP and had the ability to refuse to make the sale. Officers stated that there was a requirement for a pharmacist to be present on the premise and that they had a duty of care towards the customers.
The Panel also considered whether leaflets could be distributed to customers providing detailed information regarding services the Pharmacy could provide. Officers stated that this was possible and that leaflets were already distributed to diabetic patients providing them with information such as getting their eyes tested.
Members queried whether an early warning system could be provided in relation to pharmacies that were particularly stressed financially or under risk so that preparations could be made if they were going to close.
The Panel agreed that the idea of the Healthy Living Pharmacy was good and that work was needed to build on promotion and inform people who did not normally use a pharmacy of what was on offer and encourage them to use the services. Members encouraged the idea of self-care. The Director for Public Health agreed and stated that it was important for the pharmacy service to link and align with other services so that it did not become isolated.
The Panel queried how the work was being tracked and it was stated that each piece of work was being monitored differently and that each community pharmacy was being asked to keep records about how many people requested information in relation to specific areas such as smoking cessation or diabetes or requested a review of their medication.
Resolved: 1. That the good joint working on community pharmacy between the City of Wolverhampton Council, the Local Pharmaceutical Committee, Wolverhampton CCG and NHS England be noted.
2. That the Panel receive future updates on developments