Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, discusses the role of community pharmacies in providing health care as an important adjunct to the NHS, especially during the pandemic
The contribution of community pharmacies is critical to the success of primary care delivery throughout the UK. However, their involvement and relationship with the NHS is often poorly understood. The King's Fund has published a useful review of their role (Baird and Beech, 2020).
Community pharmacies make up one of the four pillars of the primary care system in England, along with general practice, optical services and dentistry. Most people only know pharmacies as dispensers and retailers of medicines, but their role in contemporary society is now much wider. Traditionally situated in most high streets, pharmacies are also now to be found in many large supermarkets. The role of community pharmacists has been crucial in supporting the general public and patients with long-term health conditions.
Pharmacy degrees are typically of 4 years' duration and cover a range of science subjects related to pharmacology, including the physiological, biochemical, microbiological and pathological aspects of drugs and medicines and their uses in treating disease.
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