The Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have secured a crushing election victory amid assurances that the NHS will be the new government’s “top priority”.
With almost all results declared for the 650-seat parliament, the Tories have secured 364 seats – their biggest majority since the heyday of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
Labour Party endured a terrible night, losing 59 seats to get to 203, forcing its leader Jeremy Corbyn to announce plans for his departure.
The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats announced they would replace Jo Swinson as leader after she lost her sea in western Scotland to the Scottish National Party.
In his victory speech, Johnson said: “This one-nation Conservative government will massively increase our investment in the NHS, the health service that represents the very best of our country, with a single, beautiful idea that whoever we are – rich, poor, young, old – the NHS is there for us when we are sick, and everyday that service performs miracles.”
“And that is why the NHS is this one-nation Conservative Government’s top priority,” he added.
Johnson also promised a January 31 Brexit, “no ifs, no buts”.
Commenting on the Conservative victory, the UK’s pharmacy bodies shared their concerns and hopes regarding the policies of the new government.
Simon Dukes, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee
The PSNC chief executive congratulated all the new and returning MPs and said that the negotiators would now help to show how community pharmacy could be better utilised.
“My team and I will continue to work closely with Mr Johnson’s new government to develop the community pharmacy service, building on the foundation set out in the five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework,” Dukes said.
Claire Anderson, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The RPS England chair said that it was a hugely important time for the profession and it was “crucial that the government backs pharmacy to help deliver the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan.”
“The election campaign saw a huge focus on the NHS and the new government now needs to deliver on commitments around patient care, increased funding, and growing the health and care workforce,” she added.
Anderson also stressed the importance of extending the health and wellbeing support to community pharmacy.
“We’ll also be looking for more certainty on the UK’s ambition for a future relationship with Europe and wider global community, on key areas such as medicines, research and workforce,” she said.
National Pharmacy Association
The NPA said in a statement that it would work together with other pharmacy bodies to consistently remind the government about the need for investment in the pharmacy sector.
“Our job is to work with whoever is in power to shape policies that will support pharmacies and the patients they serve,” an NPA spokesperson said, adding that the association would “also engage with the Government about keeping costs down for small businesses and helping high streets to thrive, about which the Conservative manifesto makes a number of promises”.
Leyla Hannbeck, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies
The new chief executive of AIM said: “ During the election campaign AIM encouraged our members to get involved locally with the election candidates and take every opportunity to highlight the valuable work that community pharmacy teams do in their communities, delivering great patient care. We are looking forward to working with the Government and colleagues in the NHS and other stakeholders to put pharmacy forward as a key player within healthcare and the NHS family”.
Malcolm Harrison, Company Chemists’ Association
The chief executive of CCA said: “The new government has pledged to enshrine in law a long-term plan for the NHS within three months. CCA members are already focused on demonstrating that community pharmacy can play its part in providing urgent care, and in doing so, ease pressure elsewhere in primary care. We will continue to make the case to government for the necessary funding to deliver the high-quality care and advice that patients and the public rightly expect to receive via primary care, and increasingly so from community pharmacy.”
Mike Thompson, Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry
The ABPI also congratulated the Prime Minister on his return to power and said that it would support the strong industry-related commitments promised in the Conservative manifesto.
Outgoing chief executive Thomson said: “We look forward to working without members to bring new investment to the UK to further strengthen our world-leading science base.”
(With inputs from agencies)