NHS Transformation in Greater Manchester
It is now clear that the Devolution Manchester ‘roadmap’ for combined
health and social care is based on shifting the centre of gravity away from
care being provided by hospitals to more care being provided by primary
care in new Local Care Organisations (LCOs).
With factors such as social isolation increasingly recognised as being comparable to more obvious risk factors for illness, such as an unhealthy diet, GM LCOs are likely to look to community pharmacies to develop ideas with “social prescribing” or community support programmes. Greater Manchester – the flagship for health devolution - has used the last 12 months to establish “shadow” local care organisations consisting of GPs and community services, which will provide a wide range of diagnosis and support functions such as alternatives to emergency admissions and more help for discharged patients.
This promises to deliver far greater integration between general practice, community services and pharmacy. CHL has been set up in anticipation of this, as a vehicle to bid for, hold and administer contracts for services that community pharmacies will provide “healthy living pharmacies” to promote better self-care and improve the health and well being of GM residents. Near-patient testing offers a number of potential advantages in primary care, including earlier diagnosis, communication of diagnosis, and disease management, with potential for improved outcomes, improved patient satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness.
These are new opportunities that ideally suit community
pharmacy and CHL will seek to develop these in the next 12-18 months.