Pharmacists have a major role to play, and the new contract should emphasise the importance of their potential contribution to the provision of healthcare services, says the ABPI response to the All-Party Pharmacy Group inquiry into the future of pharmacy.
"The pharmacy contract is a significant first step in realising the significant potential that the community pharmacist has to play in healthcare - but there now needs to be a more confident stride," said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI.
"The contract needs to put a strong emphasis on giving incentives to community pharmacists to make addressing health needs the main focus of their attention."
The response suggests that pharmacists' skills could be used to take on more clinical roles so that they become fully integrated into the primary care team in their community. They therefore need access to patients' records and have comprehensive IT connectivity to enable them to work closely with GPs.
Areas in which pharmacists' skills could be used on a wider scale include:
Enhancing concordance and compliance, so that medicines are taken in a way that improves outcomes.
Providing benefit/risk profiles of medicines and alternatives to them.
Improving the safer use of medicines, especially in nursing and residential homes.
Playing an active role in health promotion and advice on other services available.
Training staff working for the NHS and local authorities on medicines management.
"Pharmacists have the skills and ability to make a very substantial contribution to people's health. To achieve this, the contract needs to give them proper rewards for their efforts in this direction," Dr Barker said.
View the ABPI response to the APPG Inquiry into the future of Pharmacy (Word, 82KB)