Every Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) in England has a statutory duty to publish and keep up to date a statement of the need for pharmaceutical services in its area, otherwise referred to as a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA). PNAs are key reference documents as regards the development and improvement of local pharmaceutical services.
According to the NHS Pharmaceutical Service Regulations 2013, NHS England area teams must consider local PNAs while dealing with applications from new pharmaceutical service providers i.e. in deciding whether a new pharmacy should be allowed in a particular locality or not, otherwise referred to as market entry.
PNAs are also used by the NHS and local authority commissioners in making decisions on which NHS funded services (e.g. medicine use review service) and locally commissioned services (e.g. stop smoking and sexual health services) need to be provided by local community pharmacies.
The aim of the Peterborough 2015 PNA was to describe the current pharmaceutical services, systematically identify any gaps/unmet needs and in consultation with stakeholders, make recommendations on future development. The process was overseen by a steering group consisting of key professionals drawn from the public health department at Peterborough City Council, NHS England East Anglia area team, Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), Healthwatch, East Anglia Pharmacy Local Professional Network and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
A public consultation of the PNA document was undertaken between December 2014 and February 2015, during which views from the public and other stakeholders were sought and considered when drafting the current document which was approved by the HWB on 26 March 2015.
Findings and recommendations
The PNA established that access to existing pharmaceutical services by Peterborough residents is satisfactory and recommends that consideration should be given to supporting community pharmacies to get more involved in addressing identified health needs such as smoking, teenage pregnancy and low uptake of services such as flu vaccination, NHS health checks and screening.
Regulations 5 and 6 of the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013, state the date by which the HWB’s first PNA must be published (1 April 2015) and the arrangements for revising the PNA. HWBs will be required to publish a revised assessment within three years of publication of their first assessment (By 31 March 2018 for Peterborough).
The Peterborough head of public health intelligence, in liaison with NHS England will annually review existing pharmaceutical service provision and if appropriate draft a supplementary report alerting the HWB of identified changes and proposed actions. He/she may recommend a revision of the entire PNA where the changes are significant.