pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield
Pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) this week held an introductory meeting with new pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield and discussed “the ongoing challenges facing the sector” as well as future opportunities for English pharmacies.

The minister asked PSNC to convey her thanks to all pharmacies for the work done by the sector through the Covid-19 pandemic. She said patients, including her constituents, had really appreciated the sector through this time.

The meeting between the minister and members of PSNC’s leadership team followed an initial informal meeting at a visit to an independent pharmacy in Sutton last week, which was organised by PSNC and DHSC.

Pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield MP (centre) outside SG Barai Pharmacy in Sutton, south London. Photo: @mariacaulfield/Twitter

As well as emphasising the value of the sector through the pandemic, PSNC said it raised the very serious pressures on pharmacies resulting from the ongoing funding squeeze, and the severity of capacity and workforce issues.

Speaking after the meeting, Zoe Long, PSNC director of Communications and Public Affairs, said: “It was great to hear the minister talking so positively about the role pharmacies have played during the pandemic and how much people, including her own constituents, have relied on them.

“We were also pleased to hear that while government has ambitions to create more opportunities for pharmacies, they remain conscious of the pressures the sector is facing.

“PSNC is really concerned about the distress that many pharmacy contractors and their teams are experiencing, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Minister to support community pharmacies as they continue to help patients and the NHS.”

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