Commissioner Pharmacy Benchmarking 2016 – Findings published

The Network’s Commissioner Pharmacy project has had its second round of benchmarking, previously having reported in 2014.

In delivering the Five Year Forward View and the move towards prevention and empowering patients, the role of clinical pharmacy in both primary care and community pharmacy in reducing pressures on other NHS services, is significant. The opportunity to realise fully the potential of clinical pharmacy within primary care is illustrated in the recent Community Pharmacy reforms announced by the Department of Health (Oct 2016) and NHS England’s announcement earlier this year of investment in 1,500 new jobs for pharmacists in general practice (April 2016). Central to these changes are the four principles of medicines optimisation provided by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society which enables efficiency savings to be made combined with improved patient outcomes. 

The NHS Benchmarking Network’s Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation project aims to support Medicines Management teams by providing comparable data that can be used to inform decision making and evidence examples of effective medicines optimisation. A total of 36 organisations provided data to the latest phase of this project. These organisations comprise CCGs from England and University Health Boards from the NHS in Wales.

This project is closely linked to our parallel Hospital Pharmacy benchmarking project which explores the provision of pharmacy services in secondary care, the role of clinical pharmacy, and the improved efficiency and effectiveness aimed for by the Carter review. The Hospital Pharmacy project received data submissions from 159 organisations in 2016.

As well as a national report and online toolkit, available to all Network members, for the first time this year, bespoke reports have been made available for participants.

Highlights from 2015/16 audit

  • The findings from the project confirm that collaboration and partnership working is becoming more embedded in the Pharmacy community. This collaboration includes ongoing close work with General Practice and increasing integration with secondary care Pharmacy.
  • The most compelling finding is the reduction in capacity observed in Medicines Management teams. Teams have reduced in size over the last two years. Within this position both the absolute numbers of Pharmacists and Technicians have reduced. The most notable reductions are in the number of Pharmacy Technicians. This reduction in capacity needs to be considered alongside the increase in prescribing costs overserved over the period.
  • Despite these financial pressures there have been notable achievements in the last two years, chief of which is the increased prevalence of electronic prescribing, links between General Practice and Community Pharmacy.
  • The future utilisation of the skills and capacity of Community Pharmacy perhaps remains the greatest opportunity area identified by the benchmarking process.

The NHS Benchmarking Network’s Steering Group has confirmed that the Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation (commissioner / primary care) benchmarking project will be included within the Network’s 2016/17 work programme. Registration for phase 3 of the project will open in the first quarter of 2017 and the Network would encourage interested organisations to register as soon as possible.

For more information on this work please contact:

Jessica Grantham
Project Manager

David Hughes

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