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Leading academic pharmacist calls for more investment in community pharmacies


LEADING academic pharmacist, Dr Mahendra Patel OBE has called for more investment in community pharmacies in order to continue taking some of the burden away from GPs. 

This week, Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey unveiled her plans to tackle the backlog in the NHS which included a greater reliance on community pharmacies. 

In the Government’s paper, ‘Our Plan for Patients,’ it states: “We will expand the range of services available from community pharmacies, increasing convenience for patients and freeing up GP time for more complex needs of patients.”

But according to recent research by the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, nearly 650 pharmacies in England have closed in the last six years. 

Dr Patel, visiting professor at the University of Bradford, said: “Community pharmacies are often the first port of call for many people, especially for those with minor ailments.

"Pharmacists, as part of a regular service, also help patients manage their long-term conditions, such as asthma, more effectively

“With GPs seeing record numbers of appointments, pharmacists can help filter out those who don’t always need to see their doctor.”

He warned that increasing pressures on pharmacists and soaring costs must be tackled. 

He said: “There needs to be more investment along with upskilling of the wider pharmacy teams to ease the burden on the pharmacist themselves in delivering wider services.

“For those pharmacies who are under staffed, hiring locums comes with a much higher cost. 

“Remuneration must be appropriate to stop pharmacists leaving the sector. 

“We also need to address the toll on their mental health due to increasing pressures and, sadly, the abuse they receive from disgruntled patients taking out their frustration on them.”