The Royal Pharmaceutical Society met with representatives from the Royal College of General Practitioners yesterday to discuss how pharmacists, GPs and the rest of primary care can work together in the coming years.
The RPS said the talks largely focused on ensuring the community pharmacist consultation service is utilised to its full potential following concerns that pharmacies in England are receiving low numbers of CPCS referrals from GP surgeries.
The two bodies discussed ways in which referrals can be streamlined, how patients’ experience of the service could be improved, how awareness of it can be generated across the health spectrum and whether national support for its implementation can be secured.
Shortly after the talks, English pharmacy board chair Thorrun Govind (pictured) took to Twitter to say she looked “forward to continued collaboration” between the two professions in the future and insisted there were “many common goals and concerns".
In a statement released today, she said: “I know that teams continue to be under pressure across the NHS and how much of a spotlight there is on primary care at the moment.
“When I became chair of RPS in England, I was determined to support how GPs and community pharmacists can work together to look after our patients. The community pharmacist consultation service is a really important example of how we should be better managing demand across the health service and making best use of the whole of the workforce.
“I was pleased to be joined by colleagues across primary care so we can better understand each other’s perspectives, help make CPCS a success, and deliver better care for patients.”
RCGP chair professor Martin Marshall said community pharmacists have an “important role” to play “supporting people with minor ailments” and insisted his body was keen to work with the RPS “to ensure the CPCS is a success".
However, he warned “major challenges with implementation” still need to be addressed including more investment in project management support and IT infrastructure to help streamline the service.
He also said a consistent approach nationally” to the CPCS was needed to avoid “widening health inequalities".