Sue Sharpe has said community pharmacy must continue challenging the government on policies that shape the sector’s future in years to come.

The outgoing chief executive of the PSNC (pictured) has been an ardent critic of initiatives such as hub and spoke dispensing and has spent the last two years spearheading community pharmacy’s struggle to stop the government cutting its budget.

Citing the release last year of a PricewaterhouseCoopers study which found community pharmacy had contributed £3 billion to the NHS, public sector and wider society in 2015, Sharpe said the pharmacy industry needed to ensure the government understood how damaging its policies could be.

“Community pharmacy, like all other providers of health and social care, is facing a battle for survival. The sector will undoubtedly look very different in just a few years’ time and we must all continue to examine and, where necessary, to challenge the government’s thinking about our future,” she said.

“For example, we know how valuable the personal contact between pharmacy teams and pa-tients is, and we must ensure the government understands how much could be lost through substituting this with warehouse dispensing. The economic evaluation by PriceWaterhouse-Coopers remains a crucial piece of evidence for us as we do this.

“Community pharmacies provide services which are vital for many patients, and which communities across England rely on and greatly value. It would be madness for the government to throw this unique community asset away; and we must keep making that case.”

Sharpe told the Pharmacy Business conference that community pharmacy service commissioning would exist at a local level in years to come. “I don’t think you’re going to see a national framework insisting on a transfer of care,” she said.

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