Community Pharmacy recognised as a key player in the wider transformation of Northern Ireland’s Health Service.
An updated strategy for the provision of pharmaceutical services in the community has been published today (Wednesday 26 March). “Making It Better through Pharmacy in the Community” a five year strategy, was launched by Mr Edwin Poots, Health Minister, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS).
The Strategy document reflects the key role community pharmacy is set to play in transforming the local Health Service.
Speaking at the launch of the Strategy, Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “The renewed strategic focus is an expression of my commitment to the future role of pharmacy in the community as a vital and fundamental part of a patient centred, locally based care system, which aligns with the wider transformational change in the Health Service.”
The key themes of the strategy are pharmacy helping people to:
• Gain better outcomes from medicines;
• Live longer, healthier lives;
• Safely avail of care closer to home;
• Benefit from advances in treatment and technology.
Gerard Greene, Community Pharmacy NI Chief Executive commented, “Community Pharmacy NI (CPNI) welcomes the publication of the Strategy and I would encourage community pharmacists, other healthcare professionals and members of the public to consider the proposals in the document. This Strategy recognises the evolving role that community pharmacy can play in a Health Service that is experiencing significant transitional change. Community pharmacists are ideally placed and skilled to play a much greater role in preventing ill-health and in managing patients with long-term conditions and their medication.
In conjunction with the Minister and his officials, CPNI and community pharmacists would like to accelerate the work required to put in place new community pharmacy services that will help bring health benefits to patients and the public across Northern Ireland, and help the Minister deliver on the strategic objectives outlined in his Strategy.
Community pharmacies are used by around 123,000 adults every day, this equates to over 9% of the adult population in Northern Ireland. Findings from DHSSPS ‘Health Survey Northern Ireland 2012/13’ launched last week report that 98% of respondents said that they were very satisfied or satisfied with the services provided by their community pharmacy.
The network of professional healthcare providers is already in existence and as the report highlights, recognised by the public. It is now time to unlock the potential that exists within community pharmacy”.
The Strategy focuses on a number of key areas for the future provision of pharmacy services in the community:
The Minister continued: “The updated Strategy provides a clear direction for the delivery of pharmacy services in the community over the next five years. A priority for me as Health Minister is to see an increased use of pharmacists’ clinical skills in the delivery of services in the community and greater collaboration with other health and social care professionals to contribute to the improvement of the health of the population.
“My vision for health and social care is to raise the quality of care for patients and service users, improve outcomes and enhance the patient experience. Pharmacy services in the community have a key role to play in delivering this vision by supporting the safe, effective use of medicines and promoting health and wellbeing.”