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HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 12 June 2017

Brexit casts shadow over sector’s future

P3 Pharmacy, 7 June 2017

 

P3 Pharmacy reports on a survey conducted by CIG Research that finds pharmacists are feeling “gloomy” about the sector’s future in post-Brexit Britain. Immediate fears include medicine shortages, rising drug prices and business costs. Looking at healthcare more widely, survey respondents anticipated reduced investment in UK pharma, an NHS staffing crisis, and a negative impact on regulation and standards as the UK falls outside the remit of the European Medicines Agency.

 

Jeremy Hunt remains health secretary in post-election reshuffle

Health Service Journal, Allison Coggan and Nick Carding, 11 June 2017

 

Jeremy Hunt has been confirmed as Health Secretary in Theresa May’s new cabinet, a post he has held since 2012. He will be joined by two new ministers at the Department of Health after previous incumbents Nicola Blackwood and David Mowat both lost their seats. It is not yet known who will replace Mr. Mowat or Mrs. Blackwood, or when appointments will be made.

 

BREAKING: Pharmacy minister David Mowat MP loses seat

Chemist & Druggist, Grace Lewis, 9 June 2017

 

Pharmacy minister David Mowat MP lost his seat in his constituency of Warrington South in last week’s vote. Despite no longer being an MP, Mr. Mowat will officially retain his pharmacy brief until a new minister is appointed, according to a PSNC statement. Mr. Mowat was first elected in 2010 and again in 2015, and gained the pharmacy minister role in July 2016 after Alistair Burt’s shock resignation. Reactions on Twitter were yet another indication of the continued debate around the controversial implementation of pharmacy funding cuts.

 

P3 Pharmacy also reported on David Mowat losing his parliamentary seat. Chemist & Druggist compiled winners and losers amongst “pharmacy’s parliamentary champions”. The ABPI’s full response to the confirmed result of the UK General Election 2017 is available here and its reaction to the formation of a minority government is available here.  

 

Sustainability and transformation plans: working together is not going to be easy

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Editorial, 9 June 2017

 

With nearly 55 million people living in England, the 44 STPs aim to improve collaboration across local health and care organisations to help boost the health of the nation. STPs are moving away from a competitive model, introduced in 1990 by the NHS and Community Care Act, and require NHS and local government leaders to collaborate to improve care based on local needs. The Pharmaceutical Journal comments: “To address the financial challenges of the NHS, it is only right that there should be more collaboration between organisations.”

 

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Brexit casts shadow over sector’s future

P3 Pharmacy, 7 June 2017

 

With less than a day to go to the general election, pharmacists are feeling pessimistic about the future of community pharmacy in post-Brexit Britain, envisaging working life as more complicated and even harder in financial terms.

 

Immediate fears include medicine shortages, and rising drug prices and business costs. The prospects for healthcare on a wider basis are equally bleak, with pharmacists anticipating reduced investment in UK pharma, an NHS staffing crisis, and a negative impact on regulation and standards as the UK falls outside the remit of the European Medicines Agency.

 

The gloomy outlook stems from a survey conducted by CIG Research, a division of Communications International Group, completed by 214 pharmacy staff – the vast majority identifying themselves as pharmacists, proprietors and managers – in May. The findings are perhaps to be expected given that over half the respondents stated that they voted to stay in the EU, though when asked how they would choose if the referendum were to be repeated, the Remain figure jumped to over 62 per cent.

 

Given that the Leave figure was more or less consistent at around 21 per cent, it suggests that those who were undecided last June feel much more strongly on the subject a year on.

 

One of the areas in which Brexit seems likely to have a significant impact on pharmacy concerns staffing. More than half of those polled said they employ non-UK nationals in their pharmacy, six in ten of whom are EU passport holders.

 

While the majority said they expected the employment of these individuals to not be affected by Brexit – or said they hadn’t given the matter any thought – a substantial minority believed work visas would become a requirement and a small number anticipated replacing non-UK EU workers with British passport holders. Of the 179 pharmacies involved in the survey who have non-UK staff, four in ten said that these individuals were worried about their future employment status.

 

Many survey participants said they had already noticed changes to their business that they attribute to Brexit. Chief among these is an increase in medicine purchase prices – this was felt more strongly by independents than multiples, which is unsurprising given the bargaining power of the big players – but also striking has been a rise in problems accessing EU products and services, and a downturn in sales.

 

All of these are predicted by respondents to become even more marked once the UK exits Europe, with an accompanying increase in paperwork and decline in quality control in relation to medicines.

 

The majority of respondents see Brexit as having a negative effect on nearly all aspects of their work, from declining consumer confidence, spending and profitability, to an escalation in the price of medicines, and staffing and running costs. Even medicines safety and innovation in pharmacy practice are viewed as being in peril, and there are real concerns about the UK becoming marginalised once it is outside the EU.

 

Jeremy Hunt remains health secretary in post-election reshuffle

Health Service Journal, Allison Coggan and Nick Carding, 11 June 2017

 

Jeremy Hunt will remain the health secretary as part of Theresa May’s new cabinet, it has been confirmed.

 

Mr Hunt arrived at Number Ten at 4.15pm, smiling at the assembled media and wearing his NHS pin on his lapel.

 

Shortly after 5pm, a statement from Downing Street confirmed Mr Hunt would remain in the post he has held since 2012.

 

It means Mr Hunt, who saw his majority cut from 28,500 in 2015 to 21,600 (a drop of 4.1 per cent) in Surrey South West seat, will reach five years as health secretary in September.

 

However he will be joined by two new ministers at the Department of Health after previous incumbents Nicola Blackwood and David Mowat both lost their seats.

 

Parliamentary undersecretary of state Mr Mowat lost his Warrington South seat to Labour’s Faisal Rashid, who won with a majority of 2,549. Mr Mowat came second, polling 27,445 votes.

 

Public health minister Ms Blackwood lost the Oxford West and Abingdon seat to Liberal Democrat Layla Moran by 816 votes.

 

It is not yet known who will replace Mr Mowat or Ms Blackwood, or when appointments will be made.

 

Prior to polling day there had been speculation that Mr Hunt might have been replaced by another former health minister, Ben Gummer, but Mr Gummer lost his Ipswich seat to Labour’s Sandy Martin in one of the shock results of the election.

 

The Conservatives won 318 seats overall, with Labour second after winning 261 seats.

 

Sustainability and transformation plans: working together is not going to be easy

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Editorial, 9 June 2017

 

It is vital that pharmacy engages with sustainability and transformation plans now to avoid being left behind.

 

The new sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) — five-year plans for the future of health and care services in local areas — are going to reshape local health and social care in England.

 

With nearly 55 million people living in England, the 44 STPs aim to improve collaboration across local health and care organisations to help boost the health of the nation. For instance, from our reading of the plans, STPs could help reduce the incidence of stroke by ensuring patients with atrial fibrillation are prescribed anticoagulants, help reconfigure specialist cardiac services, improve asthma outcomes and lead to better management of long-term conditions.

 

Different way of working

 

The NHS has operated in a competitive environment since 1990 when the NHS and Community Care Act introduced the concept of the internal market. Now, STPs require NHS and local government leaders to collaborate to improve care based on local needs. This will dramatically change everyone’s way of thinking and working.

 

Some leaders are working together and talking through challenging issues, for instance, asking how they are going to integrate services for older people. But it will not be enough for leaders to hold business meetings. Frequent contacts, developing trust and looking at longer term change are required. The nature of the dialogue should be examined because, if it is an environment where leaders of organisations compete for a transaction, then they will not share useful information with others.

 

To address the financial challenges of the NHS, it is only right that there should be more collaboration between organisations. With the rise in chronic conditions, which cannot be treated with a single fix, patients will need care from a range of bodies, including pharmacy, which is also on the frontline but often relegated to the margins of any large reshaping of the NHS landscape.

 

When leaders meet, they need to develop a shared purpose: a high-level vision where all people can live better and longer lives that can be cascaded back to their organisation to increase engagement among staff.

 

Collaboration

 

In health, with advances in technology, people are thinking through how they can shift resources to offer more care in the community to prevent hospital admissions. It will be a challenge for the different organisations to collaborate in STPs. Many of the bodies with a healthcare function are already engaged with each other in the STPs, but not so with other groups such as local authorities, which are important because they provide services, too, such as rehabilitation for stroke sufferers.

 

STPs’ relationship with local councils has been patchy. In some areas, STP leads have been keen to share their plans with local councils, but this is not always the case.

 

Getting a foot in the door

 

Pharmacy owners, pharmacists and locums need to read the plans in their area, make frequent contact with the people and organisations involved in the STPs to ensure that pharmacy and pharmacists are on the radar. They need to make sure that any long-term plans firmly include the benefits to patients of pharmacy involvement. Sometimes it is going to be difficult to enter dialogue with STPs and it will be hard to identify the right people to engage with.

 

STPs will have different priorities in different regions, so it cannot be expected that they will treat pharmacy services the same. Some may want minor ailment services, others may not be interested in smoking cessation services, for instance. But not being involved means citizens with health challenges over the next five years may not reap the benefits of pharmacy services.

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 12 June 2017

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