National Pharmacy Association (NPA) - News updates

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Expectations grow for what pharmacies can deliver, but awareness of NHS services still limited, new NPA figures suggest.

  The results have being released ahead of the NPA’s Ask Your Pharmacist public awareness campaign, which runs from 1-8 November. Only half the adult population (48%) know you can get advice on managing your weight at pharmacies, but 66% know that blood pressure monitoring is offered in some pharmacies. According to the survey, many people want pharmacies to play a greater role supporting people with mental health and in care homes (39% and 40% respectively). 45% see their local pharmacy as the “first port of call” for minor illnesses, compared to 27% saying their GP, 17% NHS111 and 6% A&E. NPA board member Reena Barai, who will be taking part in radio broadcasts for Ask Your Pharmacist Week, said today: “These figures show how much further we need to go to get the message across about the range of services on offer in community pharmacies.  Campaigns like Ask Your Pharmacist Week help ensure that people don’t miss out on the support available, which includes the several new NHS services coming on line in 2021.” In spite of the awareness figures on flu vaccinations, the number of people protected by pharmacies grew nearly fourfold between 2015/16 to 2020/21, according to figures recently released by the NHS Business Services Authority.…

NPA calls for a re-think on “disenfranchising” pharmacy representation vote

  The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today called for a re-think. NPA chair, Andrew Lane, said: “There’s a clear case for changing the way pharmacy contractors are represented in England, especially in the light of emerging NHS structures at local level.  We need a system that works seamlessly from end to end – local to national. “However, if change is to be sustainable and legitimate, it must be widely supported across community pharmacy. The Review Steering Group has said that it is seeking to build a consensus for change, yet the Group’s proposed voting mechanism falls short of what is needed to guarantee a way forward that commands the support of the whole sector. “Under these proposals, a very small number of large pharmacy businesses could outvote thousands of independent contractors, effectively disenfranchising the independent sector. “The voices of independent contractors must be properly heard in this process, by getting the explicit consent of the independent sector through a fair vote”. The RSG plans to hold a single vote to approve (or not) the proposals for future contractor representation and support at both a national and local level. A two-thirds majority of all those casting a vote is required to approve the vote, with a ‘target voter turnout’ of 66% of the contractor base.…

Stoptober 2021 campaign starts from 1 October 2021

  Stoptober campaign is back for the tenth year running, encouraging smokers to put their health first and attempt a quit in October. The campaign, which motivates smokers to quit smoking from 1 October to 30 October 2021 is based on research showing that a smoker who is able to stop smoking for 28 days is five times more likely to be able to quit smoking for good. A new nationwide survey of 2,000 current smokers, has found that 45% have been smoking more since the first lockdown began. In particular, data from the monthly UCL Smoking Toolkit Study indicates a large increase in smoking among the under-35s since the pandemic. Smoking still remains the leading cause of premature death. The disruptive impact of the pandemic on smoking patterns makes this year’s Stoptober mass quit attempt more important than ever. Stoptober 2021 offers a range of free quitting tools which include: NHS Quit Smoking app Facebook messenger bot Stoptober Facebook online communities Daily emails and SMS Online Personal Quit Plan, which includes expert support from Stop Smoking Services and stop smoking aids Please note, this is not a mandatory health campaign topic, but pharmacy teams can choose to get involved in the campaign if they so wish.…

Goodbye Ellis Whittam, hello WorkNest

By bringing Ellis Whittam, Law At Work and HRSP together under one name, WorkNest represents even greater expertise, can offer even more services, and is backed by even more powerful technology than ever before – enabling the NPA to further empower members, to manage all of their employment, safety and wellbeing challenges. Their new name, WorkNest, embodies our commitment to protecting members, nurturing them, and helping them to fly. This will enhance support to members, managing their risks across the compliance spectrum. The bespoke services offered will continue and importantly members can continue to access this valuable service will not change. They will continue to be responsive to members’ needs, developing strong outcomes and enable you to be compliant, confident and risk-aware. We know that change invites questions, so Worknest have pulled together a comprehensive FAQ that you can access here. It all starts on Monday 4th October.…

NPA update on fuel shortages Friday 1 October

  The picture is variable depending on where you are in the country. Currently there seem to be particular problems in parts of North London, amongst other places.   While deliveries to some pharmacies have been interrupted, this has not generally impacted on patients’ access to treatment up to this point.   A resilient medicines supply chain is obviously vital to the health of the nation, so it’s important this isn’t allowed to escalate into a widespread problem that impacts patient care. At this moment, we are not seeing signs of escalation.   Whenever supply problems have occurred, pharmacists have worked together, with each other and local GPs to get people the medicines they need, when and where they need them.   The NPA has spoken directly to the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) about the current situation with access to fuel at petrol forecourts. In our correspondence we asked the PRA to recognise community pharmacists and their teams as a critical part of the health care workforce.  We have pointed out that:   as well as  supplying essential medicines, pharmacies now also provide a range of critical NHS services such as vaccinations for COVID and ‘flu.   in addition to needing fuel to get to their places of work and maintain the supply of medicines to NHS patients, pharmacy staff also use vehicles to deliver vital medicines to housebound patients.   We have created a template letter [LINK] for pharmacy staff to show forecourt managers, in the event of a lack of fuel supply locally that could impact patient care.…

NHS leaders aim to step up community pharmacy engagement

  Co-authored by the NHS Confederation, the National Pharmacy Association and the Primary Care Pharmacy Association, the report highlights the key themes of a roundtable discussion in July, involving primary care networks, primary care federations and other stakeholders in local systems. Dr Graham Jackson, GP and Senior Clinical Advisor at the NHS Confederation chaired the discussion. He said today: “It is critical that all available clinical capacity is used effectively. Our report examines the opportunities of collaboration with community pharmacy and identifies key enablers available to local systems, as well as addressing barriers.” “We urge PCN clinical directors, primary care federation leaders and others locally to support community pharmacists to navigate the emerging NHS structures and thoroughly consider what pharmacies can bring to the table in terms of urgent care, public health, medicines optimisation and more.” Andrew Lane, NPA chair said: “The covid-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the value of working collaboratively across systems. Community pharmacy can deliver most as an integral part of the system rather than being seen as an adjunct to the main action. The sector has an important role to play as a full partner within PCNs, with primary care federations and Integrated Care systems.…

National Pharmacy Association responds to overprescribing review

Led by Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England Dr Keith Ridge, the report found 10 per cent of the volume of prescription items dispensed through primary care in England are either inappropriate for that patients’ circumstances and wishes, or could be better served with alternative treatments. Nick Kaye, Vice Chair at the National Pharmacy Association said:  “This is a highly significant report.  Medicines are the single most widespread healthcare intervention, so it’s vital that their use is optimised, to help patients and to ensure value for money for the NHS. “Community pharmacists could play an increasingly important role in ensuring effective prescribing, for example through Structured Medication Reviews and as independent prescribers. That will improve patients’ access to advice and deploy the expertise of pharmacists to good effect. The clinical skills of all pharmacists, not just those working in GP practices, need to be brought to bear further on this important agenda. “On the flip side of overprescribing is the matter of helping patients get the most from their medicines once dispensed, which is the bread and butter of community pharmacy.  New services like the Discharge Medicines Service and the extended New Medicine Service build on this role significantly.  “In implementing the report’s recommendations, the principle of shared decision-making will be very important, so that the focus is always on getting the best from medicines and never on denying access to medicines, which serves to exacerbate health inequalities.”…

NPA wants to retain benefits of parallel trade in post Brexit system

  Several benefits of parallel trade were highlighted in NPA’s response to a government consultation on the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. The question of a future exhaustion regime is a significant one as it underpins the rules on parallel trade of goods into the UK, especially after its departure from the EU. In its written response to the Intellectual Property Office consultation which ended on 31 August, the NPA asked that any model that would be applied in the future continues to deliver the benefits of the current system”. The consultation response listed a number of factors in support of parallel trade including: Parallel traded products have been used to deal with medicines shortages in the UK, ensuring continuity of supply to patients of often life-saving medicines Parallel trade has reduced the price the NHS pays for a range of medicines releasing resource to provide additional services elsewhere in the NHS. Whilst community pharmacies procure the medicines for the NHS the saving is passed through to the tax payer via the contracts that pharmacies across the UK have with the NHS, so the tax payer is the ultimate beneficiary of this trade Parallel trade can ensure that a patient receives a medicines that has been subject to the full licensing process where no licensed alternative is available This issue is particularly important for our members in Northern Ireland where there are considerable concerns about medicines shortages caused by uncertainty in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol Helga Mangion, Policy Manager at the NPA, said: “On average, each pharmacy dispenses approximately 100,000 prescription items per year.…

You’ll be our anchor, First Minister of Wales tells NPA members

Mark Drakeford told the assembled NPA members:  “The word ‘community’ in community pharmacy means something. As well as being an essential clinical resource, community pharmacy is an economic driver.  As we rebuild after the pandemic, you will be one of the anchors that help maintain the vitality of local high streets.” He praised the work of pharmacy teams during the pandemic, saying: “You have been on the frontline of the extraordinary experience we’ve all been through. Without you we wouldn’t have got through this together… that’s why there is support for community pharmacy across the political spectrum in Wales.” Making a formal toast, Andrew Evans said: “We have ambitions for a reinvented community pharmacy service – one that is thoroughly modern but built around the values and behaviours that are intrinsic to independent community pharmacy. The NPA and its members will have an invaluable role in that future.” Health & Social Services Minister, Eluned Morgan, told guests, via a recorded video message, that the lessons of the pandemic will “help us further develop the role of pharmacies” and promised ongoing support. She looked forward to “a positive agreement [with Community Pharmacy Wales] later this financial year, which will reflect our shared ambition that every community pharmacy in Wales will provide an extended range of services, available consistently across the country.”…

Take hub and spoke to the competition watchdog, says NPA

  The NPA says that there needs to be a dynamic and competitive market in which hubs compete on the basis of quality of service and price for the custom of pharmacies that want to operate this model. Its board has suggested five tests for maintaining fair competition and choice within hub and spoke dispensing:   Hubs must be registered pharmacies and meet all GPhC/PSNI standards. Hubs must be prevented from using their trusted position in the supply process to try to circumvent the relationship between the spoke and the patient, for example by using patient dispensing data for other commercial reasons or inserting branding or advertising material into packs to be supplied to a patient. The current barriers to entry for a hub provider presented by the direct to pharmacy (DTP) and limited wholesaler schemes must be removed so that any registered provider meeting standards can operate and compete in this market. A common set of standards should set out the duties and accountabilities of a dispensing hub and professional metrics which must be collected and published by the hub to assist the spoke in selecting a potential provider. Any mechanism which is designed to prevent a pharmacy from easily switching hub provider should be prevented, thus ensuring that pharmacies can drive competitive pressures in this market.   To achieve the third test, the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 would need to be updated to put an obligation on all manufacturers to supply the reasonable needs of all registered holders of a wholesaler dealer’s licence or a registered pharmacy.…