HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 29 February 2016

The future of pharmacy will not be defined by cuts, says Burt

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Julia Robinson, 26 February 2016

 

Alistair Burt, The Minister of State for Community and Social Care, stated that although the proposed 6% cuts to community pharmacy will not be reversed, they do not mean the end of community pharmacy. He was quoted as saying “We don’t plan to close pharmacies, our aim is to make sure that those community pharmacies on which people depend, continue to thrive”.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons Written Answers,  26 February 2016

 

Frank Field, MP:

If he will carry out an assessment of the effect of changes in funding for community pharmacies on patient safety

 

Department of Health

 

Alistair Burt, MP:

The community pharmacy proposals for 2016/17 and beyond, on which we are consulting, are being considered in respect to the public sector equality duty, the family test and relevant duties of the Secretary of State under the National Health Service Act 2006. The latter includes the duty as to improvement in quality of services, such as the safety of services.

At this stage we would note that all pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacies are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council, which protects, promotes and maintains the health, safety and wellbeing of members of the public by upholding standards and public trust in pharmacy. Also, under NHS pharmaceutical services, community pharmacies are required to meet clinical governance requirements, which encourage continuing quality improvement, including through risk management.

An impact assessment will be completed to inform final decisions and published in due course.

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House of Commons Written Answers,  26 February 2016

 

Paul Maynard, MP:

What the Government plans to do to support reforms to research and development of pharmaceuticals at the World Health Organization meeting in March 2016.

 

Department for International Development

 

Nick Hurd, MP:

The meeting at the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been postponed to May 2016 and arrangements about the meeting are at an early stage. DFID officials are engaging with WHO on their plans.

The UK Government priority is to see a Pooled Fund for Research and Development established with support from WHO Member States, especially those that have not yet provided funding for this type of work. The UK Government supports systems that separate the market incentives to produce a drug or vaccine, from the Research & Development process, prioritise public health need over profit and work in partnership with a wide range of different organisations, covering the public, private and philanthropic sectors. The UK is the second largest government supporter of product development partnerships, which prioritise need over profit, and have a proven track record in developing new products.

Full Coverage

The future of pharmacy will not be defined by cuts, says Burt

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Julia Robinson, 26 February 2016

 

Alistair Burt, minister of state for community and social care, says that while the proposed 6% cuts to community pharmacy funding are unlikely to be reversed, they do not signal the end of community pharmacy “as we know it”.

 

He made the comments at a King’s Fund event on 24 February 2016, held in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) at the King’s Fund headquarters in central London, to discuss the role of pharmacy in caring for vulnerable groups.

 

“Community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care and because it is a core service it also has an important contribution to [make to] help the NHS with its efficiency saving,” he said. However, the minister also emphasised that “the future of pharmacy will not be defined by this spending round, the future of pharmacy is around what [pharmacists are] doing”.

 

When questioned about the purpose of the government’s consultation if the cuts were still going ahead, he defended the process. “[The] consultation is not useless, the negotiations are designed to [work out], ‘how can we do this best and preserve the best services that are out there on the high street’”, he said.

 

The minister acknowledged the “uncertainty and concern” surrounding the proposals, but said the government wants to retain the pharmacy services that are cherished in the community.

 

“We don’t plan to close pharmacies, our aim is to make sure that those community pharmacies on which people depend, continue to thrive,” he said.

 

Burt also revealed that an impact assessment is being carried out and tested against public sector equality duty, a requirement of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and will be published in due course.

 

“We have detailed negotiations going on,” he said, “but we are hearing from others and engaging [with] patient groups to get their views on things as it develops.”

 

The event recognised the RPS report on the role of pharmacists in care homes, ‘The Right Medicine — Improving Care in Care Homes’ published on 23 February 2016, to which Burt said: “I fully back the publication, not just for the savings that could be made or the fact that it is a smarter way of working, but because it emphasises the integral role of pharmacists.”

 

“This is the type of proactive clinical pharmacy that gets me passionate about the pharmacy profession,” he added.

 

When referring to the pharmacy integration fund, which is part of the government’s proposals for community pharmacy, Burt highlighted that in its first year the £20m pot will be focused on supporting deployment of clinical pharmacists in range of community care settings, including care homes and developing an IT infrastructure to enable community pharmacy and rest of primary care to communicate with one another.

 

“There are big opportunities for pharmacists and their teams to play an even greater role in helping people with long-term conditions and making sure patients get the best from their medicines.”

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