Agenda item

Community Pharmacy Scrutiny Review


The Chair of the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee introduced the report of the Scrutiny Review Panel that set out the findings and recommendations arising from a Scrutiny Review of Community Pharmacies. She informed that this particular review, arising from a Notice of Motion to Council (11 July 2016) from Councillor Phil Gilchrist, had been undertaken in a slightly different way i.e. through the holding of an ‘evidence day’, and had been completed in a timely fashion. Consideration would be made to using this method in future reviews.


The report informed that the People Overview & Scrutiny Committee agreed to form a task and finish group to undertake a review, but on the advice of NHS England, it was not practical to commence the review immediately as the Government had not, at that time, made a formal response to the consultation nor provided detailed proposals regarding the future contractual and financial arrangements for community pharmacies. Following a period of negotiation with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), the Government imposed a settlement. New arrangements were published by the Department of Health on 21 October 2016. As a result, an Evidence Day was held on 16 November 2016, including representatives from NHS England, Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Community Pharmacy Cheshire & Wirral Local Pharmacy Committee and Public Health (Wirral Borough Council).


The Chair expressed thanks to Councillors Angela Davies, Treena Johnson, Chris Meaden, Tony Norbury, Tom Usher, Tom Anderson and Phil Gilchrist for their contributions to the review, evidence gathering and preparation of the summary report.


The Committee noted the content and endorsed the recommendations within the Community Pharmacy Scrutiny Review, namely that:


Recommendation 1 – Monitoring the future impact of the new contractual and funding arrangements

It is recognised that the impact of the Government’s contractual and funding arrangements for community pharmacies is causing concern among the providers. As no local impact assessments of the new arrangements have taken place, the consequences of the policy change are currently unclear. Therefore, Wirral’s Health & Wellbeing Board is requested to keep an on-going brief over future developments in the local pharmacy market. Further data will be required to establish:


  • The number of pharmacies directly affected (by closure or merger);
  • The impact of changes in the market on any specific communities, particularly in light of the criteria for eligibility to the new Pharmacy Access Scheme not including any indicator of community deprivation;
  • The potential impact on other service providers, such as GPs.


Recommendation 2 – Integration of pharmacies within the NHS

As members welcome proposals to further integrate community pharmacies and pharmacists more closely within the NHS, Wirral CCG and NHS England are encouraged to further develop the principle of co-location between GP practices and pharmacies (or employment of a clinical patient-facing pharmacist). 


Recommendation 3 – Diversification of pharmacy services

As the GP Five Year Forward View gives a direct incentive to promote the use of pharmacies for specialised services such as the treatment of diabetes or deep vein thrombosis, Wirral CCG is encouraged to consider the feasibility of such schemes at the earliest opportunity. 


Recommendation 4 – Public health commissioning of services via pharmacies

The Director for Health & Wellbeing (DPH) is requested to ensure that public health services such as smoking cessation and Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC) continue to be services that are easily available through outlets such as community pharmacies. Public health services will continue to be commissioned with a view to providing the best value for money and outcomes for patient care and public health. For the future commissioning and re-commissioning of services, opportunities for pharmacy consortia to tender should be made clear.


Recommendation 5 – The relationship between pharmacies and care homes

The Director for Health & Care is requested to consider whether closer links can be established between pharmacists and care homes in order to take on roles such as medication reviews for patients. The Local Authority’s commissioning of care homes could be developed to include consideration of the home’s relationship with a pharmacist as part of the specification of the service.


Recommendation 6 – Repeat prescription pilot scheme

Members note the pilot scheme implemented by Wirral CCG aimed at reducing medicine waste by stopping pharmacies being able to order repeat prescriptions for people. It is proposed that the People Overview & Scrutiny Committee receive a report from Wirral CCG regarding the outcomes of the pilot scheme with particular reference to the patient experience of this pilot.


Recommendation 7 – Future review by the People Overview & Scrutiny Committee

The People Overview & Scrutiny Committee is recommended to undertake a further investigation of the impact of the new contractual and funding arrangements for community pharmacies in approximately one year’s time. An update on the other recommendations from this review will be incorporated. 


The Chair expressed her thanks to Alan Veitch, Scrutiny Officer for his dedicated support in progressing the review and the preparation of the summary report.


Resolved - That


1)  RECOMMENDATION TO CABINET - that the Community Pharmacies Scrutiny Review and recommendations contained within be endorsed; and


2)  an update report regarding the implementation and impact of the recommendations be presented to the next appropriate meetings of the Health & Wellbeing Board and Cabinet.

Supporting documents: