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Nice: Commissioners should make public aware of pharmacy’s value

Commissioners could understand which health needs to prioritise by surveying pharmacy teams
Commissioners could understand which health needs to prioritise by surveying pharmacy teams

National and local commissioners should “take proactive steps” to ensure the public and other healthcare providers understand the value of community pharmacy, Nice has said.

Public awareness should be raised about community pharmacy teams being “highly skilled, knowledgeable and easily accessible professionals providing important health and wellbeing services”, according to the National Institute for health and Care Excellence (Nice).

NHS England, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities should work towards this goal, it said in a new quality standard on the sector published last week (August 28).

Community pharmacies should also work with other service providers to “raise the profile of teams and inspire confidence in [them] as a valuable resource for health and wellbeing support”, according to the guidance.

Recognising the role of community pharmacies and their skills “should improve confidence” in the services they provide and “help to overcome barriers to taking full advantage of this valuable resource”, the organisation said in one of four ‘quality statements’ contained in the standard.

In a draft version of the guidance published earlier this year (January 17), Nice said the “lack of awareness of their [pharmacy teams’] skills” among the public and healthcare professionals, combined with the “long-held view” that they are “responsible mainly for dispensing medicines”, presents a barrier to them “fulfilling their full potential”.

Tailored services

In the guidance last week, Nice also highlighted that – being at the heart of the community – pharmacies have “a good understanding of [patients'] needs and challenges”.

“This knowledge and expertise within community pharmacies can inform commissioning of health and wellbeing interventions that are most relevant to the local population and will have the biggest impact on health inequalities,” it said.

The community pharmacy sector also has the ability to “play a greater role” than it currently does in prevention, the early detection of health issues, the management of minor illness and in “health promotion”, Nice added.

Commissioners should work with service providers to understand which health needs should be prioritised in a locality, for example by surveying community pharmacy teams on the services they provide, it said.

Investment needed

The Nice guidance recognises community pharmacies as “local healthcare hubs that could and should work in partnership with GP surgeries to provide integrated healthcare with triage from one to the other”, Steve Anderson, group managing director of Rowlands Pharmacy’s parent company Phoenix UK, said in a statement last week (August 28).

However, the sector's potential to "spearhead improved healthcare outcomes” can only become a reality if it receives “political commitment and financial investment”, he added.

“The frontline role that community pharmacy played during the height of the COVID-19 crisis demonstrated how important the network is to safeguarding the health of our nation,” Mr Anderson said.

What do you make of Nice's updated quality standards?

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Unfortunately it is idiots like Hancock(just endorsed a misogynist and homophobe on live TV) that hold the purse strings.

mohamed nanji, Community pharmacist


Check if you can apply for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme

If you are an employer looking to create job placements for young people, check if you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

Published 2 September 2020
Last updated 2 September 2020 — see all updates


Department for Work and Pensions

Applies to:

Wales, England, and Scotland


How the scheme works

Who can apply for funding

How to apply

Other help you can get

How the scheme works

You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.

Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement.

The Kickstart Scheme is available in England, Scotland and Wales.

Who can apply for funding

How to apply

Submit your application

Find out what happens next

Who can apply for funding

Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for funding.

The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not:

replace existing or planned vacancies

cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

The roles you are applying for must be:

a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months

paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group

should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement

Each application should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience, including:

support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals

support with CV and interview preparations

supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork

Once a job placement is created, it can be taken up by a second person once the first successful applicant has completed their 6-month term.

How to apply

If you’re creating more than 30 job placements

If your organisation is creating more than 30 job placements as part of the Kickstart Scheme, you can submit your application directly.

Start your application

If you’re creating fewer than 30 job placements

If your organisation is creating fewer than 30 job placements, you cannot apply directly. You must partner with other organisations in order to create a minimum of 30 job placements before applying.

Other organisations could include:

similar employers

local authorities

trade bodies

registered charities

Find out more about becoming a representative for a group of employers.

You can contact your local or national Kickstart Scheme employer contact for help getting a representative.

Other help you can get

Find coronavirus financial support for your business
Business support (COVID-19)
Employ someone step by step
Advertise a job
Recruitment advice and support

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

I think the public is fully aware of the value of pharmacy, especially since the GPs have hauled up their drawbridges. It's those in power that are the problem.

D Change, Community pharmacist

I don't agree. Most in my well to do area believe we are Packers of medicines

On Break, Community pharmacist

Yep. I found that when I was in a more affluent area. They are also the most entitled and demanding patients too. 

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Perhaps they could tell NHS England and Keith Ridge, who are just trying to abolish community pharmacy by funding cuts.

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