Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting outlined his plans for NHS reform on Friday (21 April), where he also mentioned a desire to see pharmacies take on more workload and pharmacists’ clinical skills to be better utilised.
In his speech, he also expressed concern at warnings from the pharmacy sector and pharmacy closures.
The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) appreciated Shadow Health Secretary’s desire to enhance pharmacies’ role in primary care reform but also stated that the sector is in urgently needs a funding injection.
Dr. Nick Thayer, Head of Policy at the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) comment: “We are pleased to see the Shadow Health Secretary recognise the enhanced role that pharmacies should play in primary care reform.
Mr Streeting wants to see care brought closer to people’s homes and more front doors into the NHS. With 89.2% of the population located within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, pharmacies do just that. They are essential to realizing his vision of a ‘neighbourhood health service’.
Pharmacies could free up over 42m GP appointments annually, including 10m vaccination appointments.
Urgent same-day appointments for minor conditions in pharmacies will immediately benefit patients by increasing GP access. The first step is for the Government to immediately commission a fully-funded Pharmacy First service in England.
With a 30% real-terms cut in funding and 720 pharmacies permanently closing since 2015, pharmacy desperately needs a funding injection. We cannot let the sector whither and decline, otherwise patient care, especially for those in the most deprived communities, will suffer”.