Steve Barclay
Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The health secretary, Steve Barclay was asked over the delay of ‘Pharmacy First’ model in England that was proposed by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) last year, at the Health Committee evidence session held on Tuesday (31 January).

Taiwo Owatemi MP (Chair of the Pharmacy APPG) asked whether he was adhering to his statutory responsibility to ensure continued access to medicines and cited the CCA’s closures in areas of deprivation research.

Barclay replied that the government is ‘investing more’. He said, “We put an extra 100 million on top of the 2.6 billion a year we commit to community pharmacy to expand the range of clinical services. We’ve got over 2 million patients that have been referred to community pharmacy from NHS.”

He further added: “One of the issues I’m very keen on is to explore what more we can do in pharmacy not least given the pressures on GP and the opportunity to look at what it is currently people go to GPS for where potentially the risk to do more at the pharmacy and we’re already doing that.”

Owatemi asked, in Wales and Scotland ‘Pharmacy First’ exist, the PSNC submitted last year the ‘Pharmacy First’ model for this country to make it more beneficial to patients to make it more cost effective. We still haven’t heard anything, and it’s been a year since then?

The health secretary said: “I’m only being appointed less than 12 weeks. But there’s strong agreement between us, which is that there’s a significant role for pharmacy to do more. We need to look at the financing of that. A clear trajectory in terms of additional services that can be delivered by pharmacy. I think pharmacy offers opportunity in terms of ease of access.”

Owatemi asked whether it was the Government’s belief that there are too many pharmacies or whether there was ‘professional snobbery’ within the NHS and what the blockers to change are. Barclay said change is difficult, but DHSC wanted to see more delivered through community pharmacies.


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