An industry body has called for an increased role for pharmacists in the primary care sector and said that plans to introduce new polyclinics presented an "important new opportunity".
The English Pharmacy Board (EPB) of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) welcomed the government's intention to explore new models of integrated care, and said it supported the integration of services through better commissioning.
The EPB said that patients and the public should be able to choose the healthcare services they need, whether it be visiting a pharmacy, GP surgery or a polyclinic. New initiatives around service networks in primary care could mean new opportunities for pharmacists to take onboard additional services, it added.
Steve Churton, RPSGB president, said it was pleasing that the government's strategy, entitled Our Vision for Primary and Community Care, set out a vision for how to improve patient choice and accessibility.
"Community pharmacists have broad experience of delivering services with a customer focus and this will be an asset to the NHS as it develops in the future," he said. "It is clear that pharmacy has the potential to play a much larger role in the provision of primary and community care services."