An introduction...

Every day, millions of patients in the UK take medicines to manage the long-term conditions they are living with. Supporting these patients so that they understand and get the best from their medicines, and deal with the ups and downs of their conditions, is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS as the population ages.

That is why, over the past two-and-a-half years, the Community Pharmacy Future (CPF) project – a collaboration between Boots UK, The Co-operative Pharmacy, LloydsPharmacy and Rowlands Pharmacy – has been working hard to develop and evaluate a platform for pharmacy services to support our patients.

Community pharmacies provide a safe, efficient and effective service dispensing over one billion prescription items each year in the UK, backed by a network of pharmaceutical wholesalers offering twice daily deliveries to pharmacies across the country. However, community pharmacy must further establish its role as a clinical profession, supporting patients and assisting other healthcare professionals in optimising the use and prescribing of medicines. Our CPF project has delivered robust evidence of the health economic and patient outcomes benefits from services delivered through community pharmacies.

All along, we have worked in close collaboration with the Department of Health, NHS Employers, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and representatives of independent pharmacies and GPs, all of whom are represented on our Steering Group. They in turn have facilitated access to leading clinical experts in the NHS at a national and local level. We have also been able to draw on, in a unique way, the wide range of expertise across our four companies in service design, learning and development, operational implementation, practice research and communications.

This has helped our project go from an initial discussion with Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, and his officials in October 2011 to the launch of three pilot services in two locations in North West England in September 2012 and the full evaluation of the results by the start of 2014.

We are pleased to share with you the positive results from this project that demonstrate pharmacy can make a difference to patient lives, deliver clear clinical benefits and add real economic value to the NHS. As a result of this clear value case, we ask that these services be commissioned from pharmacy at a national level so that all patients, and the NHS, can enjoy the benefits together.

helping a customer
Community Pharmacy Future: Our call to action

Through the Community Pharmacy Future project – a collaboration between Boots UK, The Co-operative Pharmacy, LloydsPharmacy and Rowlands Pharmacy – we have clearly demonstrated the value of community pharmacy in supporting patients with long-term conditions.

Community pharmacy teams have made a real difference to the lives of their patients. They have been helped to make significant improvements in adherence to their medicines, and patients are feeling the benefits from this. They understand why they need to take their medicines, and what’s in it for them when they do.

Pharmacists have also been able to address clinical issues affecting patients, working with other healthcare professionals to reduce inappropriate prescribing, change medicines to dosages or formulations more suited to their patients’ needs and circumstances.

More than this, pharmacists have taken a pre-emptive approach to their patients’ health. They have identified areas of risk, like falls, and taken steps to mitigate these risks. Not all of these have involved medicines. Changes to daily routines, better diet, gentle exercise and the selection or adjustment of mobility aids have all helped improve patients’ quality of life, in ways they really notice.

Patients have also been empowered to take control and not let their conditions manage them. They have been provided with medicines that can be used to reduce exacerbations, avoiding the costly use of other parts of the NHS or social services. Some have been able to avoid hospital admissions completely thanks to the work of their community pharmacist. Others have been able to resume hobbies and interests they had previously had to give up.

The results from these services have been independently analysed by academics from the University of East Anglia and submitted for peer-reviewed publication. This will contribute to the growing evidence base for pharmacy.

Now we want to see this work developed further. There are millions of patients right across the country who could benefit from support like this today. There are many other clinical priority areas that could be addressed. Pharmacies delivering these services need to be able to work hand-in-hand with other health and social care professionals, sharing information and making or receiving referrals, delivering the seamless care that patients have a right to expect. The savings we have made at a local level should be scaled up to help the NHS meet its productivity challenges.

We want community pharmacy to play a bigger role in health care. We want to continue our close collaboration with Government, the NHS and pharmacy bodies to develop Community Pharmacy Future as a platform that can be formally commissioned for all patients who need help and support with medicines.

Your Local Boots Pharmacy
The Community Pharmacy Future project is a collaboration between
Well Pharmacies
Lloyds Pharmacy
Rowlands Pharmacy a company of the PHOENIX group