Following today’s announcement from David Mowat, outlining plans for significant funding cuts to the community pharmacy budget from December, Pharmacy Voice has responded with anger, describing the proposals as ‘incoherent, self-defeating and wholly unacceptable’.
The announcement, which follows PSNC’s rejection of the proposed package earlier in the month, outlines plans to reduce funding significantly over the next 18 months, which will have a direct impact on local pharmacies, their staff and patients. Pharmacy Voice, alongside the other national trade bodies, has been involved in a national campaign to oppose the cuts, which has seen countless questions raised in Parliament, 3 debates, opposition from health and community bodies and the largest healthcare petition in history.
And with the leadership of Pharmacy Voice in the development of a cross sector Community Pharmacy Forward View, alongside robust counter-proposals from PSNC, the Government has few excuses to press ahead with its plans, where more constructive, patient focussed proposals have been on the table for several months prior to this announcement.
Rob Darracott gave his initial reaction to the proposals today:
“We have only just seen the Government’s response to the PSNC today but, on first inspection, it doesn’t appear that the Department of Health has been listening.
“We have spent the last 10 months explaining to them the value of community pharmacy, the pressure we take off other parts of the NHS and the money we save the Government by keeping patients out of GP surgeries and A&E.
“The public have made it clear to them that they expect their local pharmacies to expand their role in the community and MPs from every party have outlined how cuts will harm the interests of their constituents.
“Yet, despite this opposition, the Government appears hell-bent on pressing ahead with this incoherent, self-defeating and wholly unacceptable policy”.
Darracott remarked further:
“Despite the announcement, Pharmacy Voice is determined to ensure the long-term sustainability of community pharmacy and vital patient care is not put at risk. We will now redouble our work to promote the positive vision set out in the Community Pharmacy Forward View and will work closely with national and local partners to demonstrate how implementing it can deliver savings and improve health across the country
“At the same time, we will build on the enormous good-will we have generated within Parliament, amongst the public and with NHS and Local Government colleagues in support of an expanded role for pharmacy within primary care and public health.”