I have received a large number of campaign cards from constituents as part of a campaign by the National Pharmacy Association, an example of which can be seen above. There are efficiency savings being made within the NHS, which are being made in the name of just that – efficiency, rather than politics. Spending on health continues nonetheless to grow, with a £10 billion real terms increase in NHS funding in England between 2014/15 and 2020/21. This will focus on lifesaving treatments and the Government expects to spend up to an extra £2 billion per year on the new drugs that patients need by the end of 2020.
I want to see community pharmacies that people depend on continue to thrive. The Government is consulting on introducing a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies based on factors such as location and local needs.
The Government wants to transform the system to deliver efficiency savings and ensure the model of community pharmacy reflects patient and public expectations as well as developments in technology. It wants to promote the use of online, click and collect or home delivery models, to help patients to get their prescriptions in a way that fits into their lifestyle.
Community pharmacies are important community assets. The Government is therefore consulting on how best to introduce a Pharmacy Integration Fund to transform the way community pharmacy operates in the NHS, bringing clear benefits to patients and the public.
Community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care. A clinically focussed pharmacy service that is better integrated with primary care and public health will help relieve the pressure on GPs and A&Es, ensure better use of medicines and better patient outcomes, and contribute to delivering seven-day services.
With the above said, I am aware that any reforms made to such important community assets can sometimes have unintended consequences. As such, I will keeping a very close eye on the implementation of these reforms, and if I feel that the policy is having adverse effects on the delivery of community pharmacy services, I will be sure to raise concerns with the Department of Health to ensure that any concerns are addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible.