The Government recognises the important contribution that community pharmacies make to the National Health Service. We are encouraging a much greater use of community pharmacies as a first port of call in mass media campaigns such at the current Stay Well pharmacy campaign and by better integration with the rest of the NHS to help take pressure off general practitioners (GPs) and hospitals.
In the North East we are currently piloting referrals direct from NHS 111 to community pharmacy and early results are promising. We are also extending the pilot supply of urgent medicines. This has also demonstrated how community pharmacy can relieve pressure on GP and Out of Hours services. Between December 2016 and December 2017 the pilot NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service saved 38,900 GP appointments. We will continue to build on this evidence based approach.
The Quality Payment scheme introduced by this Government in 2017/18 has encouraged an increase in community pharmacies that are accredited as Healthy Living Pharmacies and there are now over 9,000 embedded in the community, supporting people both with and without long term health conditions to stay well. In addition community pharmacists play an important role through the New Medicines Service and in the advice they provide alongside their dispensing activity in ensuring everyone knows how to take their medicines most effectively.
Pharmacy will continue to be a trusted partner in delivering a world class National Health Service and the Government is committed to working with community pharmacy to help make this a reality.