Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley has said her organistion will write to the new health secretary Matt Hancock to offer “him help” in understanding how the pharmacy profession can improve the health and well-being of patients.

Hancock (pictured), the MP for West Suffolk, was appointed to replace Jeremy Hunt after his shuffle to the post of foreign secretary following the resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davies in protest at the government’s position on Brexit.

Some £320 million in cuts to community pharmacy’s budget, measures that have been vigorously fought by the PSNC and National Pharmacy Association in court, were implemented on Hunt’s watch but there was a sense of optimism over 39-year-old Hancock’s arrival.

“This is a crucial time for the health service and we look forward to working with Matthew Hancock, his Department and NHS England as they move forward on developing a long-term plan for the NHS,” Gidley said.

“We know that the NHS needs to make the most of the whole of the health and care workforce, whether that is supporting the growing numbers of people living with a long-term condition or helping achieve the ambition of 21,000 more mental health professionals in the NHS by 2021.

“We will be writing to the new health secretary, offering him help in getting up to speed with what the third largest health profession can deliver for patients.”

The PSNC said it looked “forward to working with (Hancock) to develop community pharmacy services for the benefit of patients, the NHS and pharmacies.”

Hancock was appointed culture secretary just six months ago and comes into the role as health secretary with little experience in health and no apparent links to community pharmacy or the NHS in general.

Having been educated at Oxford University and completing a Masters in economics, Hancock is an avid proponent of technology and launched his own smartphone app in February which features picture galleries and videos of his activities as MP for West Suffolk.

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