Leading pharmacy bodies and associations are looking forward to working with ‘reappointed’ Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, on ‘future roles’ and ‘funding’ for the community pharmacy.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) England Country Board Chair, Thorrun Govind, hopes that the ministers will now be able to focus on addressing the key challenges facing the health service and the country.
“This means not just getting through the winter, but planning for and investing in the future.”
She added: “It will be crucial to use the skills of all our health professions to support the NHS recovery, reduce health inequalities, manage the growing cost of long-term conditions, and deliver best value from medicines.
Govind urged the minister “to support a more ambitious approach to advancing the clinical role of pharmacists across the NHS, including through a ‘Pharmacy First’ approach in England.”
“Amid warnings of potential cuts to public spending, I hope the Government listens to health and care leaders who are united in the need for a comprehensive workforce plan to deliver better patient care. This must include investment in pharmacy education and training.”
“As scientists and researchers, as well as clinicians, pharmacists also play a key role in pharmaceutical industry and will be vital to building on the UK’s position as a world leader in new therapies and technologies.”
On the reappointment of Steve Barclay to his former post of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Dr Leyla Hannbeck, Chief Executive, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) said: “It is hoped the return of his brief will recognise the growing calls for community pharmacy in primary care and the wider NHS.”
“The network, it’s trust, respect and convenience for patients give the Secretary of State a resounding platform to enhance our role by meeting many of the ambitions of the long term plan. We welcome the opportunities which now lay ahead to demonstrate how community pharmacy can play an integrated role in patient focused healthcare and population health.“
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) looks forward to working constructively with Steve Barclay and his team, “aiming to secure the kind of support that will enable its members to help get the NHS back on its feet.”
NPA Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “The same logic that led all recent Health Secretaries to talk about a ‘pharmacy first’ approach to primary care still applies today. That provides a basis for a serious conversation about investment, even though all parts of government have been asked to look for cost savings.
“We want him to buy into our can-do agenda for urgent care, long-term conditions, medicines optimisation and prevention.”
The Company Chemists Association (CCA)’s spokesperson commented: “Mr Barclay rebegins his role at a crucial time for the pharmacy sector. The Secretary of State will find that community pharmacies are invariably solutions providers and can take positive steps forward to relieve pressures across the sector.
“We are encouraged that the Health Secretary previously worked on a ‘Pharmacy First’ model, however pharmacies need immediate investment for this plan to be realised.
“A real-term cut in funding spanning eight years is having a deeply concerning impact on the sector’s ability to care for patients.”
Citing the data from its recent research, CCA said, “permanent closures are happening at a concerning rate in areas of deprivation, with 41% of permanent closures since 2015 occurring in the 20% most deprived areas of England. It is only with investment that community pharmacy’s full potential can be realised so it can deliver more for patients and ensure the best value for taxpayers.”
During his previous tenure, we successfully concluded negotiations for year 4 and 5 of the CPCF and we were very grateful to him for all his efforts during this process, said the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Commitee (PSNC) Chief Executive Janet Morrison.
“He re-joins the Department at a crucial time for community pharmacy as we continue to experience unsustainable and damaging pressures, due to chronic underfunding of the sector.
“We look forward to working with Mr Barclay, the Pharmacy Minister and their colleagues to further dialogue about the future role and funding of community pharmacy.”