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Pharmacy bodies call on new health secretary to increase investment


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Pharmacies are “ready and willing” to help the new government address the challenges the NHS faces 

Community Pharmacy England (CPE), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), the Independent Pharmacies Association (IPA), the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) have collaboratively written to the newly appointed health secretary, Wes Streeting, urging for increased investment in pharmacies to reduce GP waiting times.

Following Labour’s general election victory on 4 July, Streeting assumed the role of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

In their joint letter, the pharmacy bodies have conveyed their readiness and willingness to help the new government in addressing the challenges facing the NHS, provided there is sufficient funding, holistic workforce planning and improved medicines security.

They highlighted the importance of investing in community pharmacy to ensure “patient access to medicines, realising Labour’s vision of a return of the ‘family doctor’ and embedding a greater focus on prevention in the NHS.”

During the election campaign, Streeting acknowledged the significant funding challenges confronting community pharmacies, which have resulted in numerous closures.

Community Pharmacy England had previously expressed its intention to promptly schedule meetings with new government ministers to address the pressures on community pharmacies and to explore the implementation of the community pharmacy independent prescribing service promised in the Labour Party manifesto.

Janet Morrison, chief executive of CPE, highlighted that a top priority for the new government health team will be to conclude “negotiations on the 2024/25 Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF).

“This is critical to assure the future for community pharmacies and the safe supply of medicines to patients, but it will be one item of many on their list of NHS crises to solve,: she said.

NPA Chief Executive Paul Rees mentioned that the Labour team has been informed about the decade-long financial cuts affecting pharmacies. He also noted that Streeting has expressed strong support for community pharmacies.

Streeting recently supported the NPA’s national day of action against pharmacy underfunding, stating that pharmacists across England have been “driven to desperation.”

Acknowledging the scale of closures, Streeting  had told NPA that “Labour wants to reverse this shocking trend and put pharmacies at the forefront of our health service.”

Paul said: “Now he has to deliver – action is needed immediately to stop the pharmacy closures that are leaving many patients without convenient care close to home.”


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