AN MP has welcomed millions of pounds being put aside for new pharmacy services to help ease pressure on other NHS services.
Fareham politician Suella Fernandes said the changes being made will ensure better use of pharmacists’ skills and more efficient spending.
It is hoped the £42m Pharmacy Integration Fund will drive greater use of community pharmacists relieve pressure on GPs and A&E.
But the new funding, which was introduced last month, comes just months after the government announced plans to cut funding for community pharmacies by 12 per cent.
Under the new scheme patients who need urgent repeat prescriptions or with urgent minor ailments will be referred from NHS 111 directly to a community pharmacy, and avoid them having to first go to a GP out-of-hours practice.
Miss Fernandes said: ‘This is about transforming community pharmacy for the benefit of the public.
‘The changes will improve the service offered to people, ensure better use of pharmacists’ valuable clinical skills, and allocate taxpayers’ money more efficiently.
‘Our community pharmacists are skilled health professionals, who undergo one year less training than their medical colleagues.
‘But the talent and skill of our community pharmacists is often not recognised.
‘Their potential in supporting access for patients and improving outcomes is not realised.’
Miss Fernandes spent time learning about community pharmacies by visiting Fareham Pharmacy, on Highlands Road. As well as offering prescriptions they also help customers quit smoking as well as doing medicine usage reviews.
Chief pharmaceutical officer for England Dr Keith Ridge said: ‘NHS England is making this extra money available to help modernise the pharmacy sector and make the most of pharmacists’ skills.
‘We are not asking community pharmacies to do more but to work with us over the next five years to develop how we can do things differently.’