It’s time to make it happen.

Celesio UK Managing Director Cormac Tobin responds to The Community Pharmacy Forward View: ‘Making it happen’ launch.

The sector has published The Community Pharmacy Forward View; making it happen at a time when the NHS continues to face unprecedented pressure from increasing demand and restrained capacity.

The vision is clear; we want to be enabled to be the first port of call for common ailments, provide better support for people with long-term conditions and to be a community health and wellbeing hub, all of which are achievable and will go a long way in helping our ailing NHS and people that are struggling to access services.  This will need some level of collaboration and greater integration with our colleagues particularly in primary care.

By issuing the detailed framework of how this can all be delivered and crucially how barriers can be overcome, we have opened the door for NHS England and others to work with us to bring about these solutions.  Usefully, this framework provides options around acceleration which enable swifter deployment if necessary – so what’s holding us back?

For pharmacy to be truly at the heart of the NHS, we need Government to work with us. To dismiss the glaring opportunity that the Community Pharmacy Forward View presents would be short-sighted and ill-advised.  We’re here, a ready-made, highly trained network of healthcare providers, located conveniently in the heart of communities, and offering cost effective solutions. We have the capacity and skills.

It certainly is concerning to read the daily headlines which document the continuing challenges facing the NHS, over-stretched A & E, under-pressure general practice and patients awaiting important operations dealing with uncertainty, and all without any sustained period of cold weather or flu epidemic, the system appears to be in need of life support.

Government and the NHS can no longer afford to ignore community pharmacy nor deny patients the services which the sector can deliver.  A stakeholder task group must be brought together urgently to secure maximum impact from the sector at this critical time, it’s time to make it happen.