Agenda item

Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment


16.1.    The Board considered a report on the 2022 East Sussex Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment to the Health and Wellbeing Board for approval, and agreement for it to be published, as required by the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Pharmaceutical Services) 2013 Regulations.

16.2.    The Board asked whether there was a risk that demand for pharmacies could increase as the role of pharmacists in diagnosing and treating patients increases, and at the same time that the number of high street pharmacies could reduce due to trends in high streets towards converting class E commercial properties to housing.

16.3.    Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health (DPH), said that community pharmacies are both commercial businesses selling products but also have contracts with the NHS to dispense prescriptions and additional services, and commissioners would wish to continue seeing sufficient provision on the high street. The DPH said he was surprised the number of pharmacies had not contracted more than it did since 2017, but believed this due to the coordinated efforts of pharmacies from 2015 onwards to expand the range of services they provide in support of the wider healthcare system. Pharmacies are able to do this successfully because of their proximity to where people live and the very high level of trust in which they are regarded by the public. The news from the Prime Minister to increase the use of pharmacies is welcomed within this context.

16.4.    Darrell Gale said it is unfortunate there is not a specific planning class for pharmacies and other health providers like optometrists. The PNA, however, demonstrates that the current provision of pharmacies is meeting the needs of the population and there is no need for further consolidation or expansion.

16.5.    The Board asked whether the PNA reported that there was adequate end of life care commissioned in East Sussex.

16.6.    Darrell Gale clarified that the PNA reported adequate end of life care provision from pharmacies (i.e. the supply of appropriate drugs).

16.7.    The Board asked why some rural pharmacies are not open for the duration of their advertised opening times.

16.8.    Darrell Gale explained that rural pharmacies sometimes have to close due to staffing issues or because the consulting room privacy requirements mean that the counter cannot be operated when someone is receiving an emergency consultation that requires more privacy than a booked consultation.

16.9.    The Board asked whether the travel times reported to travel to rural pharmacies are based on projections, or the actual reported times of people travelling to them, which can be longer due to the impact of unadvertised closures.

16.10.  Darrell Gale explained that the travel times have been calculated using Basemap’s TRACC software to model the time taken by residents of East Sussex to access a pharmacy service. They do not take into account the potential that the pharmacy may not be open on arrival and are based around the advertised open hours, as that is the level of data available to the Public Health Team.

16.11.  The Board asked for more details of why pharmacies do not always meet the physical access needs of patients.

16.12.  Darrell Gale said physical access needs often include the entire journey from their residence to the pharmacy and includes public transport and parking costs, and not just access within the pharmacy itself. He agreed it was disappointing that the Public Health Team had not heard back from all providers and did not have a more complete picture of the extent of disabled access in East Sussex pharmacies. He added that the protections afforded to some of the very old shopfronts in East Sussex meant that major access changes would not be possible for all pharmacies.

16.13.  The Board RESOLVED to:

1)         Approve the 2022 East Sussex Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment attached as Appendix 1 subject to the inclusion of the changes set out in the addendum;

2)         Agree to the publication of the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment; and

3)         Agree to delegate authority to the Director of Public Health in consultation with the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) to make any necessary minor modifications to the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment prior to publication.

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