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The role of the pharmacy in the National Health System

The pharmacy office is a crucial part of health care and of the challenges that the National Health System will have to assume in the future.

Pharmacy and healthcare

The role of the pharmacist as a health professional and accessible and local health agent has gained relevance in recent years. The different health administrations like ontario pharmacy chain have become aware of the need to value the role of the community pharmacy as health care agents.

In this sense, the paradigm shift that involves the chronification of diseases and the increase in life expectancy implies structural changes in the provision of services of the National Health System. Health care from the pharmacy must be a participant in these changes to guarantee the sustainability of the system.

What role do pharmacies have within the National Health System?

The pharmacy, as an integral part of the National Health System, actively collaborates in maintaining the health of citizens. The concept of ” pharmaceutical care ” encompasses all the complementary functions to the medicine that pharmacists must carry out, through care actions that contribute to the prevention and promotion of health.

This concept has been endorsed by entities such as the World Health Organization and includes functions such as:

  • Medicine dispensing.
  • Master formulation.
  • Consultation and pharmaceutical indication.
  • Training in the rational use of medication.
  • Health education.
  • Pharmacovigilance and pharmacotherapeutic monitoring.

Community Pharmacy Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the multiple challenges faced by the National Health System and the pharmacy in particular. There is a debate on how pharmacists can take advantage of their skills to make the health system more accessible to the population and to reduce the existing healthcare pressure.

On the other hand, aspects such as the chronification of diseases have led to an increase in polypharmacy among the population, which can lead to the appearance of drug-related problems. The proximity of the pharmacist and services such as medication review makes it possible to detect medication problems quickly and efficiently and improve the quality of life of patients.

Proposals on the new role of the pharmacy

To respond to these challenges, the Most Illustrious Official College of Pharmacists of Valencia (MICOF) established a discussion forum to generate knowledge and define a consensus roadmap among pharmacy professionals. This working group established the following conclusions:

  • It is necessary to bet on the development of a portfolio of assistance services from the pharmacy office, in order to reduce the assistance pressure of the Primary Care centers.
  • These services must be offered if the pharmacies so wish and if they meet certain requirements and commitments to the system and the patient.
  • The pharmacist’s access to the patient’s clinical data must be guaranteed in order to be able to provide these services and carry out adequate follow-up.
  • New communication channels must be established between the community pharmacy and ┬áHospital Pharmacy to guarantee coordination between centers.
  • Forums for dialogue, training and consensus must be established between health professionals who monitor chronic patients.
  • It is necessary to agree on relationship protocols between the pharmacy office and the Primary Care Center to improve patient care and quickly solve possible problems that arise.
  • The implementation of pilot programs should be promoted to allow the evaluation of the results and help demonstrate the value that pharmacies provide in health care to the population.
  • It is necessary to promote working groups at the national level that analyze these recommendations and form part of the national strategy on pharmaceutical policy for the community pharmacy.
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