The effective management of long-term conditions is widely recognised to be one of the greatest challenges for the NHS this century, placing a significant demand on the NHS and other public services. Currently, more than 15 million people are living with at least one long-term condition and this number is expected to continue to rise.
With 70% of GP time spend on managing patients with long-term conditions, there is huge potential for pharmacists to do more in prevention, early detection, supported self-care and ongoing management of long term conditions. They can also ensure people get the best outcomes from their medicines, reduce adverse events, minimise avoidable harm and un-planned admissions to hospital.
In dialogue with National Voices and a number of other organisations, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society published a report last November which set out how pharmacists can make a difference for people with long-term conditions.
As the number of people living with multiple long-term conditions become more prevalent, the challenges associated with prescribing the right medicine and supporting patients to use them effectively should not be underestimated. The benefit to patients from further integration of pharmacists into multidisciplinary teams will be significant and will ensure support at every stage of their journey from early detection, prevention through to treatment and management of their long-term conditions.
The aim of our report is to make the patient journey easier by enabling pharmacists to directly refer to appropriate health and social care professionals, improving patient access to care and reducing the number of unnecessary appointments.
However, to deliver truly patient-centred care for people with long-term conditions we need your help. We need to hear how we can improve your experience and the specific points at which pharmacists can help you to manage your long term condition better.
As we develop further guidance for pharmacists on how they can play a greater role, we are keen to hear from patients and National Voices members about what is important to them and what changes they might want to see.
With this in mind, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society will be hosting a workshop at National Voices on 26 April to examine the current experiences of pharmacy services among people with long-term conditions and explore how things could be done differently in future.