NICE tells local authorities and the NHS to integrate community pharmacies into care pathways

07 Aug 2018

Following representations by the NPA and other pharmacy bodies, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and health & wellbeing boards to ‘work together to help all community pharmacies gradually integrate into existing care and referral pathways as health and wellbeing hubs’.

The guideline, issued earlier this month, NG102: Community pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing adds that ‘this could include arrangements for inward and outward referrals’.

It is consistent with the NPA’s own recommendations in Improving Access to NHS Care By Investing in Community Pharmacy (April 2018). In that document we argued that ‘People would be encouraged to come first to pharmacy if signposting from pharmacies more frequently took the form of a formal referral, embedded in NHS care pathways.’ The NICE guideline also reflects the sector’s wider view of the future of community pharmacy laid out in the Community Pharmacy Forward View.