Stay Ahead with Community Pharmacy Trends and Innovations

4 min

Stay Ahead with Community Pharmacy Trends and InnovationsCommunity pharmacies have always pl...

James Roberts

By James Roberts

Stay Ahead with Community Pharmacy Trends and Innovations

Community pharmacies have always played a crucial role in patient care, whether it is ensuring vital medicines supply, preparing critical injectable medicines, or ensuring continuity of care in the community for patients with chronic diseases. Focus has now shifted to giving community pharmacies greater recognition for the stellar service they provide to their respective communities. 

In this article, discover the latest trends and innovations shaping the future of community pharmacy, and also explore key performance indicators, statistics, and news. Let’s start!

What's Driving Change in Pharmacy Practice?

Community pharmacy teams are NHS service providers and there is a growing demand for them to be supported in the same way as other primary care providers contracted to deliver NHS services.

The COVID-19 pandemic further demonstrated just how crucial a role community pharmacies play in patient healthcare. It also highlighted the challenges of flexibility amongst the community pharmacy workforce. All of this calls for major structural reforms as well as investment and a shift in the mindset of those who create policies.

Community Pharmacy: Innovations and Emerging Practices

Keeping up with the new demands in patient healthcare and ensuring the medical needs of the community are met, community pharmacies in the UK are focusing on innovation to provide enhanced patient care services. Community pharmacies are also working to collaborate with other health professionals and are paying more attention to enhancing their business efficiency and effectiveness. 

In what can be considered to be a significant development, community pharmacies are also encompassing healthcare niches that were traditionally not their forte. This includes continuity of maternity care, severe mental illness, chronic respiratory disease, early cancer diagnosis, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) case finding and management. 

An emerging trend is that community pharmacies now comprise more professional support members such as registered technicians and accuracy-checking technicians, thereby improving patient-facing roles. These additions to the team allow pharmacists to have greater clinical interactions and medicine-management roles with patients.

According to Dilip Joshi, Superintendent Pharmacist and Visiting Senior Lecturer, King’s College, London, “ The future of community pharmacy lies in moving beyond the supply model to embracing and providing services and we had one of the earliest consultation rooms, well before it was adopted more universally.”

Insights from Community Pharmacy Statistics and Data Trends

The data on community pharmacies is not very encouraging as there have been challenges in community pharmacy. The number of community pharmacies in England has fallen for the fifth consecutive year, NHS data show. According to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA), although 297 new community pharmacies opened in 2022-2023, 388 community pharmacies closed as well, resulting in a net loss of 91 community pharmacies across England.

At the end of March 2023, there were 11,414 active community pharmacies in England, a drop from the 11,522 active community pharmacies the previous year. The reason behind the falling numbers, according to Helga Mangion, policy manager at the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), was “long-term underfunding”.

She said that without “substantial new NHS investment” there would be further widespread closure of community pharmacies.  

“A brighter future is possible for community pharmacy, based on properly funded clinical services within a truly integrated health service and a long-term shift of NHS resources to primary and preventative care,” she added.

However, there is good news as well and community pharmacies may well receive a fresh lease of life. That said, community pharmacy systems will need to continue to adapt, evaluate, and learn if they want to survive the current harsh climate. There are plans to expand the services offered by community pharmacies.

It is estimated that, by 2026, all newly registered pharmacists will be independent prescribers. All in all, the future of community pharmacy is exciting with large developments afoot at a national level. These opportunities need to be grasped fully through developing relationships, working with patients and the public, understanding local needs, and evaluating and learning.

Want to become a Community Pharmacist?

Every profession changes from time to time as new trends emerge. The domain of community pharmacy is on the cusp of a major transformation. While there may have been a downward growth a few years ago, all that is all set to change, and the future of community pharmacy is bright. 

Fresh life is being injected into these vital nerve centers of local communities which is why a career as a community pharmacist offers myriad opportunities for growth and service.  And who better than Quad Recruitment UK to guide you on the right path to the best jobs in the community pharmacy domain? The leader in job placements, Quad Recruitment UK is your go-to partner for bagging a high-paying job in the domain of community pharmacy. Talk to us and get hired today!