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Pharmacy Leaders applaud Lib Dem’s election manifesto for sustainable healthcare reforms

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CCA, CPE and NPA praise commitments to fair funding and enhanced pharmacy services in Liberal Democrats’ health pledges 

Released on Monday morning, the election manifesto shared by the Liberal Democrats pledges to “work towards a fairer and more sustainable long-term funding model for pharmacies.

The Party’s manifesto promises to address the issues at both the “front and back doors” of the National Health Service (NHS), which the party claims has been plunged into crisis by the Conservatives.

Promising to “strengthen patients’ rights” by tackling public health inequalities and providing early access to community services, the party vows to invest in public health and early access to community services.

This involves expanding the Pharmacy First  initiative  to offer patients more accessible routine services and ease the pressure on GPs.”

The pledge also includes their commitment to providing free NHS prescriptions for individuals with chronic mental health conditions free on the NHS, as part of a wider commitment to review the entire schedule of exemptions for prescription charges.

The party says they are set to “give everyone the right to see a GP within seven days, or within 24 hours if they urgently need to with 8,000 more GPs to deliver on it.”

Additionally, they promise to guarantee access to an NHS dentist for everyone needing urgent and emergency care, ending DIY dentistry and ‘dental deserts’.

“We will strengthen patients’ rights, fix crumbling hospitals, recruit and retain a workforce for the future, invest in technology that improves outcomes and saves money, and restore the UK as a world leader in health research,” the party has declared.

Is it a ‘Fair Deal’ for the pharmacy sector? Leading pharmacy bodies respond

Calling the manifesto “our fair deal,” the party has also promised to invest in hospital buildings and public health to improve social care and to boost cancer survival rates by introducing a guarantee for 100 percent of patients to start treatment for cancer within 62 days from urgent referral.

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), supported the call for “a fairer and more sustainable long-term funding model,” stating:

“With a 30 percent real-terms cut in core funding since 2015 and nearly 1,200 closures in that time, the current funding framework is untenable.”

“Moreover, the party’s pledge to build on the Pharmacy First service is a no-brainer which will free up GP capacity and improve patient access,” he added.

“The manifesto also rightly talks about extending prescribing rights and public health advisory services to pharmacists.

Independent Prescribing is a generational opportunity which we must not waste,” he continued.

Responding to the publication of the Lib Dem manifesto, Paul Rees, Chief Executive of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), said:

“The Liberal Democrats’ promise to work towards a fairer and more sustainable long-term funding model for pharmacies is excellent news which we hope heralds a growing political consensus around the need to properly support pharmacies to deliver better, more local health care for millions.”

Rees also highlighted the party’s commitment to enhancing the Pharmacy First approach, saying, “Their promise to build on the Pharmacy First approach to give patients more accessible routine services and ease the pressure on GPs also points to cross-party agreement that we need a stronger pharmacy network to support communities up and down the land.”

However, he stressed the urgency of the situation, noting the stark fact about financial crisis and closures at the rate of 10 a week.

“Whoever forms the next government needs to invest in the network so people do not lose this fabulous local health service that represents the front door to our NHS.”

The Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy England (CPE), Janet Morrison, emphasised on the need for the introduction of a sustainable funding model for community pharmacies, alongside developing pharmacy services for the benefit of patients, pharmacies and the wider NHS.

She praised the commitments made by political parties to expand the role of community pharmacies, citing pledges from the Conservative Party to enhance Pharmacy First and the Liberal Democrats to extend prescribing rights and public health services.

“We were also pleased to see a specific commitment to working towards a fair and more sustainable funding model from the Liberal Democrats,” she stated urging all political parties to commit to working with CPE “to address pharmacy’s funding crisis and make the most of this vital community healthcare asset.

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