Quality statement 3: Integrating services into care and referral pathways
Community pharmacy teams have an important role in supporting the health and wellbeing of local populations. Integrating community pharmacies into local health and social care pathways, through effective partnership working and collaboration, will offer people effective, convenient and easily accessible services. It will also reduce duplication of work and relieve pressure on the wider health and social care system. Within a well-integrated care pathway, community pharmacy teams should not only be able to support people to maintain their health and wellbeing, but also to refer or signpost them to other health services, and services offered by local authorities and organisations in the community and voluntary sectors.
a) Evidence of community pharmacies and commissioners working together to integrate community pharmacy services into care and referral pathways.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, review of actions taken by commissioners, primary care networks and community pharmacies to facilitate integration.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, review of arrangements agreed locally between community pharmacies, primary care networks, health, social care and support service providers.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, review of KPIs agreed locally between community pharmacies, primary care networks, health, social care and support service providers.
Numerator – the number in the denominator satisfied with the availability of referral pathways.
Denominator – the number of community pharmacy team members.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, information collected through surveys of community pharmacy teams.
Service providers (such as community pharmacies, primary care networks, general practices, NHS trusts, social care providers, and community and voluntary sector organisations) work together to establish effective referral pathways in their local areas. They work on improving understanding of expertise available from community pharmacy teams and building confidence in the referral pathways that are being established. They also set up information-sharing practices to reduce multiple assessments and waiting times, and offer people effective, convenient and accessible services.
Health and social care practitioners (such as community pharmacy teams, GPs, social prescribing link workers, social care workers, and community and voluntary sector staff) recognise the value of integrated working and the skills available within community pharmacy teams. They develop and use local referral pathways and information-sharing practices to ensure that people in the local area receive effective, convenient and accessible services.
Commissioners (such as NHS England, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities) work with community pharmacies to integrate community pharmacies into the local health and care system. They take actions that support implementation of the community pharmacy contractual framework, including establishing and using referral pathways in local areas. This allows community pharmacy teams to accept as well as make referrals to the service most appropriate for the person, without the need for the GP to be involved unless appropriate. They also develop local health and care records that can be used by partners.
People who use community pharmacies receive the support they need from a community pharmacy team or, if they need more help, they are referred directly to a relevant health or care service without the need to go back to a GP unless appropriate.
Community pharmacies: promoting health and wellbeing. NICE guideline NG102 (2018), recommendation 1.1.1
Referrals to health and wellbeing services may not always be suitable for people in rural communities because of issues with access and transport. Commissioners may need to work with community pharmacies to ensure that the services can be delivered through local community support groups, activity groups or clubs.