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Pharmacy: General Practitioners

Question for Department of Health

UIN 5918, tabled on 7 July 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the role of pharmacies in reducing the demand on GP services.

Answered on

14 July 2015

Pharmacy already plays a vital role in supporting the health of people in their local communities, providing high quality care and support, improving people’s health and reducing health inequalities. As we move to more integrated care, there is real potential for pharmacists and their teams to play an even greater role in the future, particularly in keeping people healthy, supporting those with long term conditions and helping make sure patients and the National Health Service get the best use from medicines.

NHS England in its Five Year Forward View stated that there should be far greater use of pharmacists: in prevention of ill health; support for healthy living; support to self-care for minor ailments and long term conditions medication review in care homes; and as part of more integrated local care models. For example, many community pharmacists are being commissioned to provide seasonal flu vaccinations, helping to reduce pressure on general practitioners (GPs).

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State in his speech on the new deal for general practice outlined how some GP practices are helping to deliver seven day care by better use of pharmacists. This will be enabled further by pharmacists having access to a patient’s summary care record. £7.5 million of the primary care infrastructure fund for this year will be used to support community pharmacists with training and appropriate tools.