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  • New law strengthens punishment for assaulting health sector workers

    New law strengthens punishment for assaulting health sector workers

    Friday, 27 July 2018 16:08
  • Home Office gives go ahead to allow cannabis-derived medicinal products on prescription

    Home Office gives go ahead to allow cannabis-derived medicinal products on prescription

    Friday, 27 July 2018 15:58
  • Review on prescribed medicines sets out scope and terms of reference

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    Tuesday, 24 July 2018 12:30
  • AMs recommend that pharmacists have access to palliative care data in Wales

    AMs recommend that pharmacists have access to palliative care data in Wales

    Wednesday, 18 July 2018 17:41
  • APTUK questions claims about pharmacy technicians’ desire to supervise medicines supplies

    APTUK questions claims about pharmacy technicians’ desire to supervise medicines supplies

    Wednesday, 18 July 2018 17:17

Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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bricksFebruary 17 1016

The Department of Health is wrong to say that pharmacy clusters are inefficient or inappropriate, the body representing pharmacy owner organisations has warned.
In a detailed response to governmental proposals to cut pharmacy remuneration by 6% and restructure pharmacy access, Pharmacy Voice has said that pharmacies within clusters may serve distinct populations.

“The fact that people across the whole country can reach pharmacies within short journey times is one of the strengths of the network, providing access to healthcare professionals in every community for the people who most need support,” it says.

“Reducing the number of bricks and mortar pharmacies will not improve efficiency and outcomes in the way the Government has implied. To increase clinical service delivery within community pharmacy you need diversity and numbers of pharmacies.”

The comments are made in a significant initial response to the proposals that the Government announced on December 17. Pharmacy Voice’s response document proposes a number of developments that could help health services.

However, it criticises the Department for having initiated its consultation process “out of the blue”, and with “very little detail, no explanations, no impact assessment, no evidence base, no route for public comment, unfounded assumptions about the current efficiency of community pharmacy, [and] no acknowledgement of changes required in other parts of the system.”

It also criticises the lack of clarity in the governmental proposals on ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing and how or if it differs from centralised dispensing, or what efficiencies might actually arise. It also questions the notion of taking a blanket approach to increasing prescription duration as this could significantly increase medicines waste.

Pharmacy Voice is calling for five core commitments from government from the Government “in return for the investment of resources, effort, expertise and time that the sector is willing to put into delivering the Government’s stated vision and our ambition for the sector.”

These are:

  • Stop the planned disinvestment in community pharmacy in 2016-17;
  • Agree a sustainable long-term settlement with the sector;
  • Invest in service transformation in the same way as for other parts of the NHS;
  • Put in place a joint, coordinated approach to planning investment and implementing change, in partnership with national community pharmacy bodies;
  • Deliver the reforms that are required in other parts of the system, and in legislation, to enable community pharmacy to play its full role.

Claire Ward, Chair of Pharmacy Voice, commented: “We are eager to work with the Government in a constructive way, and recognise this opportunity to change the sector for the better. However, it seems clear that the cuts being proposed are based not on what the Department of Health deems efficient or safe, but rather on what HM Treasury wishes to save.

“The proposals for delivering efficiencies we’ve seen are at a very early stage of development and will not provide any meaningful savings prior to the imposition of the cuts. So it is hardly surprising that pharmacies across the country are speaking out against these rash cuts, being imposed with little notice and with scant regard for the consequences.”

Further questions about the proposed cuts have been asked in the House of Commons. Community and Social Care Minister Alistair Burt told Stephen Pound MP that “community pharmacy does, and is doing, an extraordinary and important job, but it will change.” He also said: “We are negotiating with the pharmaceutical profession. A consultation is going on. There is a great future for pharmacy, but, like so much else, it will be different.”

In answer to a written question from Steve Rotherham MP, Mr Burt said: “We are not able to assess which pharmacies may close because we do not know the financial viability of individual businesses or the extent to which they derive income from services commissioned locally by the NHS or local authorities or have non-NHS related income.”

Links:

Pharmacy Voice announcement

Pharmacy Voice covering letter to Department of Health

Pharmacy Voice initial response to the DoH/NHS England proposals

House of Commons written answer

House of Commons debate February 9 2016 

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