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a matt hancock imageJuly 24 2018

New Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for investment in primary care and community pharmacies “so people don’t need to go to hospital.”

Setting out his priorities having taken over from Jeremy Hunt earlier this month, Mr Hancock said there were “three areas where we must make swift and decisive progress for that plan to be a success.” His early priorities across the whole health and social care system are: workforce; technology; and early prevention.

In terms of workforce, Mr Hancock said: “GPs need more assistance to tackle with their substantial workloads. There is currently a review of GP partnerships ongoing but I also want to see more training to those pharmacists based in GP surgeries and more staff to support them.”

Referring to the additional £20 million that the Prime Minister had pledged for the NHS, he said: “We must take a holistic approach to prevention:

  • to reduce the over-prescription of unsophisticated drugs in favour of approaches like social prescribing which address someone’s physical and mental well-being;
  • to make the investment in primary care and community pharmacies so people don’t need to go to hospital;
  • to empower people to keep themselves more healthy at home.”

Responding to the speech, PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: “We are pleased to hear the new Secretary of State acknowledging the need for investment in community pharmacies so that they can do more to help ease pressure on hospitals. 

“This is in line with PSNC’s ambitions – pharmacies are ideally placed to help people to stay healthy and avoid visits to hospital. We look forward to working with Government to make this shared vision a reality for the benefit of patients and the NHS.”

The Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board, Sandra Gidley, welcomed the Health Secretary’s “commitment to investing in community pharmacy as a key part of primary care, to support prevention and keep people healthy and out of hospital, as well as additional support for pharmacists based in GP surgeries. 

“We look forward to seeing further details and working with the Department of Health and NHS England on what this will mean for pharmacists,” she said. “We have continued to call on the Government to make the most of the whole of the healthcare workforce and Britain’s 54,000 registered pharmacists in all care settings will be vital to delivering a sustainable NHS.

“With the Secretary of State’s additional focus on prescribing, pharmacists must play a strategic role in shaping and delivering NHS plans for the future to ensure patients are able to get the most from their medicines.”

Links:
Department of Health and Social Care – Secretary of State’s speech       
PSNC response 
RPS response    

 

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