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Community Pharmacies

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:16 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of David Mowat David Mowat The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 1:16 pm, 2nd November 2016

I beg to move an amendment, to leave out from “NHS services” to the end of the Question and add:

“welcomes the Government’s proposals to further integrate community pharmacy into the NHS, including through the Pharmacy Integration Fund, and make better use of pharmacists’
clinical expertise, including investing £112 million to deliver a further 1,500 pharmacists in general practice by 2020;
supports the need to reform the funding system to ensure better value for the taxpayer;
and welcomes the establishment of a Pharmacy Access Scheme which will ensure all patients in all parts of the country continue to enjoy good access to a local community pharmacy.”.

I welcome the opportunity to set out again the Government’s approach to pharmacy in general and community pharmacy in particular over the next few years. I will also address some of the points that we just heard, which were, frankly, alarmist scare-mongering.

The proposals I announced two weeks ago are directed at four main areas: first, the need to better integrate pharmacy with GPs, primary care and the NHS more widely; secondly, the need for the existing community pharmacy network to move from a dispensing-based model to a value-added services-based model; thirdly, the need to continue to work with NHS England to ensure value for every penny we spend on the NHS; and fourthly, the need to ensure that, as we undertake these reforms, everybody in the country continues to have ready access to a community pharmacy.

First, on integration with the NHS, especially in general practice, over the weekend Simon Stevens, the NHS England chief executive, again reiterated the importance of that and why he supports this process. We know we need to expand the number of GPs, and by 2020 we will have a further 5,000 doctors working in this area, but as well as recruiting and retaining more doctors, we need to provide them with further support. The “General Practice Forward View”, published by NHS England, has set out fully costed plans to recruit a further 1,500 clinical pharmacists into GP practices by 2020. By then there will be one pharmacist working within a GP practice for every 30,000 of population. Most of these will be prescribing pharmacists, and all will have a role in performing medicine reviews and leveraging GP time. This is a major investment and it is already happening.