HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 26 February 2016

Labour vows to fight ‘reckless’ government over cuts

C&D, Annabelle Collins, 25 February 2016


Shadow health minister Barbara Keeley stated that The Labour party will put pressure on the government to reverse the cuts to community pharmacy. She stated that “introducing cuts on this scale will not improve primary care. It will do the opposite.”


Further coverage on proposed Government reforms to community pharmacy can be found on C&D here, and on Pharmacy Biz here.


Parliamentary Coverage


There is no Parliamentary coverage today.


Full Coverage

Burt fails to provide answers on cuts and funding

Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 25 February 2016


The social care minister Alistair Burt attempted to alleviate concerns about the government’s intentions for community pharmacy during a parliamentary debate, although he was unable to explain how the £170 million cuts to funding and revenue from the Pharmacy Integration Fund will be distributed or what further cuts pharmacy can expect to its revenue.


Insisting the government’s “vision is to bring pharmacy into the heart of the NHS,” Burt (pictured) told parliament on Tuesday that he wanted to work with NHS England to encourage the commissioning of pharmacy services at a local level but when pressed to explain how the efficiency plans will impact community pharmacy he failed to provide any detail.


Question marks over how much of the £170 million in cuts the multiples will shoulder or whether independent pharmacy will bear the majority of the reduction remain.


“We are having this debate at a relatively early stage of the negotiations between the Government and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, which is handling matters on behalf of the pharmacy profession,” he said.


“Many of the questions and issues raised by colleagues on both sides are at the heart of those discussions. What sort of services will there be? Where is pharmacy going? How exactly will the reduction in finance be handled and distributed? Not all the answers are available at this stage because a proper negotiation process is being undertaken.


“Understandably, colleagues will look at the most adverse potential consequences to make a point when representing their constituents. I understand that, and the points have been perfectly fair.


“We are at that point in the process. We think we know what the worst may be, but we do not know the outcome or what changes there will be for the better.”


When asked about the Integration Fund, which is set at £20 million for 2016-17 and will have risen to £300 million by its fifth year, Burt could not provide firm answers on whether community pharmacy will benefit substantially from the revenue or the extent to which it will be channelled to other sectors within pharmacy.


“That working with the sector is ongoing. That is what the negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee are all about. We are consulting with a wide range of groups, not just the PSNC, including patients and patient bodies,” he said.


“As part of what we are doing for the future of pharmacy, we want pharmacists and their teams to practise in a range of primary care settings to ensure better use of medicines and better patient outcomes and to contribute to delivering our goal of truly seven-day health and care services.


“As part of that, I want to work with NHS England to promote local commissioning of community pharmacy within the health community, so that we can ensure the best use of this valuable resource.


“That is why we are consulting on how best to introduce a pharmacy integration fund to help to transform the way pharmacists and community pharmacy will operate in the NHS of the future. By 2020-21, we will have invested £300 million in the fund.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 26 February 2016

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