The English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind has said she wants talks with the Royal College of General Practitioners and other royal colleges to discuss how pharmacy can work with other health professions in the years ahead.
Ms Govind said a meeting between the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other health bodies was important for the different professions “to understand each other’s perspectives” as the Health and Care Bill makes its way through the legislative process and is set to change the healthcare landscape.
The Bill seeks to bring commissioners and providers of NHS services together with local authorities, community, hospital, mental health and social care to plan health services based on the needs of local populations through integrated care systems.
Ms Govind wrote: "I am proposing a roundtable with RPS, RCGP and other royal colleges. The focus will be on primary care, discussing how we can work together as we emerge from Covid. We need to understand each other’s perspectives, hear each other speak, and chart the best way forward to a post-Covid world.”
Her remarks follow an article that was published yesterday in Pulse by Essex-based GP Tony Copperfield, who questioned “what community pharmacy is for” and who claimed “pharmacies seem to be an anomaly, providing a service that is incongruous or redundant".
“As a profession, we often face disparaging comments which ignore the important role we play in patients’ lives,” Ms Govind said.
“Over the last year I have seen our hospital pharmacists work under immensely stressful conditions; caring for Covid patients and worrying that they would bring Covid home to their families. I have mourned the colleagues that we have lost, whilst acknowledging the important role they played in their local communities.
“The last year has been incredibly challenging both personally and professionally, wherever we work in healthcare. Up and down the country GPs and community pharmacists work together to support our patients.
“We know how valued pharmacists are by their GP colleagues, because we have seen the benefits, heard their feedback and witnessed the increasing number of posts for GP pharmacists.”
Ms Govind said there are “huge benefits for collaboration between general practice and community pharmacy".