Headlines: August 9th, 2004

A new wave of pilot projects has been launched to allow pharmacists to provide a wider range of services. The new services include smoking cessation clinics, substance mis-use services, safe medicines disposal, emergency hormonal contraception and advice for patients to get the most from their medicines. They join other pilots who are already providing extra services such as checking blood pressure and measuring blood glucose levels.The pilots allow Primary Care Trusts to agree contracts that deliver local services in ways which are not possible under the current national contract arrangements. This gives the flexibility to design services with local patient’s needs in mind and at the same time help to deliver local PCT priorities. By working closely with community pharmacists and other health professionals it is possible to make better use of pharmacist skills and improve the quality of services.

The skills and experience of pharmacists are recognized as an under used resource. A multi-professional steering group is advising the Department of Health on the development of the pharmacy public health strategy. The group includes professional bodies, Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts. The first group of pharmacists completed training in March to allow them to prescribe medicines in certain circumstances. They are working in partnership with doctors, dentists and patients to implement Clinical Management Plans.