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Community Pharmacy Future have today published research* supporting a new person-centred approach to community pharmacy care, helping patients to achieve improvements in lifestyle and condition management.

The volume of patients living with multiple long-term health conditions is increasing and the current UK healthcare system is not designed to cope with this ever-growing demand.  Community pharmacists can help alleviate the pressure by using their clinical skills in increasingly diverse ways, and support patients to improve their health.

The need for quality research in community pharmacy was confirmed following the Community Pharmacy Clinical Services Review by Richard Murray, recently commissioned by NHS England.  In support of this agenda, Community Pharmacy Future, a partnership of the four largest multiple pharmacy companies (Boots UK, LloydsPharmacy, Rowlands Pharmacy and Well) developed and evaluated a person-centred service for patients with long-term conditions titled the Pharmacy Care Plan service.

As part of the service, patients identified and agreed their own health goals and had regular consultations with the pharmacist who coached and motivated the patients to improve their quality of life through improved management of symptoms, lifestyle choices, weight loss and improvement in health conditions.  The service also included the first use by community pharmacy in the UK of the Patient Activation Measure®, a new tool for Health Professionals to tailor their advice to each individual person.

Among the 52 pharmacies which trialled this new approach, almost 700 patients over the age of 50 were recruited in the West Yorkshire area. 

This new research suggests that a person-centred approach is highly successful in a community pharmacy setting, and demonstrated the appetite of patients with long term conditions who are willing to engage in improving their health in the community pharmacy setting and who were therefore likely to benefit from the service.  

Clare Kerr, speaking on behalf of Community Pharmacy Future said: “With the increasing strain on the healthcare system, the NHS needs to find new models of delivering care.  These findings give us clear evidence that patients are supportive of the role which community pharmacy can play, building on existing relationships with patients to support the prevention of illness, and the coaching of patients to self-care through long term lifestyle changes, and in a cost-effective way for the NHS.”

Pharmacists are highly trained in managing medication and improving health, and over 95% of all community pharmacies now have private rooms for consultations with patients.  The Department of Health has proposed further integration of pharmacists into the wider NHS and for community pharmacists to take on a more clinical role. This person-centred service could be used as a basis for future changes in the way community pharmacy supports patients with long term conditions as outlined in the sector’s vision for the future, the ‘Community Pharmacy Forward View’. 

Further evidence for the potential benefit and value of community pharmacy services has been published in Clinical Pharmacist this week**.

*PLOS-ONE (April, 2017) The UK Pharmacy Care Plan service: Description, recruitment and initial views on a new community pharmacy intervention

**Clinical Pharmacist (April, 2017).  Demonstrating value for the NHS: Insight from the Community Pharmacy Future model

 

Further information:

  • Read the full report here: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174500
  • The Pharmacy Care Plan is an evolution of the two successful support services evaluated in 2013-2014 that evidenced significant improvements in quality of life and medicines adherence, with health economic benefits.
  • Details of the other Community Pharmacy Future services are here http://communitypharmacyfuture.org.uk/  
  • A new paper on the Community Pharmacy Future approach to research will be published in the April edition of Clinical Pharmacist. An independent evaluation of the results from the Pharmacy Care Plan service will be published at a future date.
  • Community Pharmacy Future is supported by a steering group including representatives from NHS England (Bruce Warner, & Deborah Jaines), Department of Health (Jeannette Howe), NHS Employers (Caroline Temmink), PSNC (Gary Warner, Sue Sharpe & Alastair Buxton), Pharmacy Voice (Rob Darracott), NAPC and GP representative (Dr Charles Alessi), and ex-NHS England (Martin McShane).                 
  • The independent evaluation is led by Professor David Wright at University of East Anglia.