They are my patients – all 5,000 of them that live near my pharmacy! And the ones that walk in off the street.
I owe a duty of care to them. Now I am going to fulfil that duty of care.
I can’t get away from the fact that the NHS is underfunded. General Practice is under pressure and people are just not getting the advice and treatment that they need. Of course, I could sit back and moan at Jeremy Hunt and his shiny new team of ministers – or I can get off my backside and do something about it.
Yesterday I talked to a community pharmacy team who thought exactly the same way. They embarked on a journey to implement proactive clinical community pharmacy practice. They are not on their own – there are a growing number of community pharmacies that are doing the same.
“I can’t stand by knowing that there are 135 amputations every week in people with diabetes. OK the NHS is providing a multidisciplinary footcare team for those at very high risk, but what about all of the rest”
So yesterday they started to deliver footcare advice to all of their patients with diabetes. Inspect, Moisturise, Protect, remember to attend your annual footcheck at the GP practice and if you notice changes – go and see someone straight away. And next time ask about oral health and dry eye.
They all agree – it is good for the patient, good for the NHS and good for the pharmacy – it actually has them excited.
“I came into pharmacy to help people and I want to do more” – it is a common response from the pharmacy team – they all have stories of how they have helped – and they are ready for more.
I can’t wait to see them again – their target is 250 patients in the next two months – about 5 a day.
They aren’t going to stop here – oh no – they have great plans to follow other pharmacies that have launched new services.
What about the NHS – well guys it depends on how you look at it. It is demand management – something that they haven’t really thought about and more importantly – it is increasing capacity for no additional charge.
Perhaps the new shiny ministerial team will realise that they need extra provider capacity and they haven’t any more money and get behind Community Pharmacy.