Pharmacy Voice held its official launch today in Westminster. The new, unified pharmacy representative organisation called for transformational change and issued an open invitation to a wide universe of stakeholders to help shape the future of the pharmacy service, delivering improved health outcomes to patients and value for the NHS.
An ambitious vision was outlined in Pharmacy Voice’s launch document Community pharmacy a blueprint for better health. It advocates an expanded role for community pharmacy as a healthcare provider of choice, offering unrivalled accessibility, value and quality, driving forward better medicines use and improving public health.
The document makes a series of recommendations which aim to help unlock pharmacy’s potential. It proposes a radical service redesign, focused around medicines pathways, which would aim to ensure people get the most out of their medicines. Representation from pharmacy in the new NHS commissioning structures is called for at every level. The need for national service frameworks is also clearly identified as an enabler of effective local commissioning and delivery. There is also a recognition of the contribution pharmacy can make in public health, and a proposal for the creation of a national quality framework with locally-led implementation and a genuine focus on patient outcomes.
Pharmacy Voice is seeking views from all interested stakeholders by 30 April – email firstname.lastname@example.org . The organisation will also be approaching members and other key stakeholders for direct feedback to help determine the next steps for driving the vision towards realisation.
Pharmacy Voice chairman, Ian Facer, said at the launch:
“We have created Pharmacy Voice to represent community pharmacy more effectively, with one stronger, unified voice. It is only by bringing together the whole sector – independents and multiples – that we can truly pursue a coherent vision and achieve our potential. We have talked long enough about the need to work together – this time it has to be for real.”
Pharmacy Voice chief executive, Rob Darracott, said:
”The blueprint we have issued today is an invitation to shape the future, which must be all about patients. It is also a call to community pharmacy to create our own destiny. Pharmacy and pharmacists should own the medicines pathway throughout the patient journey. We are in a challenging, rapidly changing NHS environment and we cannot allow ourselves to be pulled along in the slipstream of change.
“Community pharmacy must be bold and ambitious. We must go forward together. Time is pressing for us to establish a firmer foothold within primary care, yet we also have to build sustainably for the long term. This is both a sprint and a marathon.”
The launch event was attended by senior government officials, pharmacists, leaders of other professions and stakeholders from across the UK.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the All Party Pharmacy Group in Westminster, Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP, said:
“As the NHS enters the greatest period of change since its inception it is essential that healthcare providers focus on working together as they never have before, putting the interests of patients at the heart of everything they do. I warmly welcome the creation of Pharmacy Voice which promises to unite the community pharmacy sector, putting it in a strong position to reach out and build relationships with other partners in healthcare delivery. This kind of approach will be essential if community pharmacy is to achieve its potential. ”
Health Secretary Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP, visiting a pharmacy in his Cambridgeshire constituency, has also welcomed Pharmacy Voice, acknowledging that pharmacy has a “tremendous opportunity” for improving health and expressing a desire to work with pharmacies across the country to maximise the sector’s contribution.