David Mowat: I thank my right hon. Friend for that comment and reassure her that for the first time we will be allowing pharmacists to access a quality fund, which means that the average pharmacy could earn up to £6,000 or £7,000 over and above what it gets just for dispensing. The fund will include specific measures around public health.
David Mowat: I thank the hon. Lady for her point. She mentioned Scotland’s minor ailments programme. The announcement I made on that about a week ago was in many ways modelled on the Scottish model, because we know that pharmacies can do much more on minor ailments than at present. That will be commissioned separately from the other things we are talking about today, and paid for separately from the...
David Mowat: I will not say much more because of time constraints, but I thank my right hon. Friend for his comments. He is right to remind the House that this sector is quite concentrated towards public companies. That is not to say there are not some individual pharmacists that will be affected, but about 25% of pharmacies are owned by two or three public companies.
David Mowat: The right hon. Gentleman makes an extremely good point. They are not yet in place, but they will be by 1 December.
David Mowat: The access scheme to which I referred will apply to rural and urban pharmacies. Indeed, there is more urban than rural in it, but it will protect rural pharmacies in the way my right hon. Friend mentions.
David Mowat: The quality system that I have mentioned is about potentially investing more in prevention and linking the best pharmacies—the high quality pharmacies—more closely to local authorities, public health schemes and all that goes with that. I make the point again that there is a requirement for efficiency savings, but we do not believe that they will affect access overall. We do not...
David Mowat: I thank my right hon. Friend for his fantastic work with the pharmacy sector. He makes the important point that we are trying to move the sector more into services and added value. The two announcements that I made two weeks ago are part of that, as is the work currently being done by Richard Murray from the King’s Fund. That will inform how we spend the integration money and enable the...
David Mowat: I repeat that we absolutely recognise the vital role that community pharmacies can play, and we want to make them move towards an even more vital role by providing more services, which is what pharmacies want to do, rather than getting all their money from their dispensing activities, as they do at the moment. High quality pharmacies will be in a position to really prosper in the new world...
David Mowat: The volume of business is gradually increasing. If a pharmacy in a cluster should close, that business will be redirected to other pharmacies in the cluster. They will then be in a position to expand, take on more people and all the rest of it.
David Mowat: I have never said that Leicester has too many pharmacies. What I said in answer to the urgent question was that one road in Leicester—Loughborough Road, I think—has 12 pharmacies within half a mile, and that is quite hard to justify. As for the right hon. Gentleman’s other point about diabetes and long-term conditions, I mentioned the King’s Fund work being done by...
David Mowat: The news that I can share is that pharmacies that are more than 1 mile apart from each other, many of which will exist in rural constituencies such as the hon. Lady’s, will be largely protected under the scheme.
David Mowat: The King’s Fund study and the £42 million integration fund are directly focused on services and on enabling pharmacies to become more integrated with GPs. In addition, I repeat that 1,500 more clinical pharmacists than we have now will be working for GPs in 2020. That is a huge difference.
David Mowat: I give the hon. Lady that assurance. She used the word “integration”, which is right at the core of the proposals, as is modernisation. This is a patient-first initiative and we are going to make it happen.
David Mowat: The scheme that we are putting into place is blind to ownership, so we will not take into account whether a pharmacy is a Boots, a LloydsPharmacy or something smaller. Given the gross margins that are currently being made by the average pharmacy, including smaller ones, I do not believe that the efficiency savings that we are asking for will cause widespread closures. It is scaremongering to...
David Mowat: Yes—modern, efficient and oriented towards excellent patient care.
David Mowat: I do not wholly understand the thrust of that question. I assume that the hon. Gentleman, like others in this House, is welcoming the fact that we are rolling out a national system on ailments, delivered by pharmacists. As the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford) said, that is the future.
David Mowat: I thank my hon. Friend for that comment, and I reinforce what I said earlier: NHS England plans to have this rolled out nationally by April 2018.
David Mowat: This is the first time ever that we have given pharmacies a two-year planning horizon; usually, these negotiations relate to a one-year period. After the completion of this period, there will be further negotiations, at which point we will take forward what is right to do.
David Mowat: I am not sure that takes us forward, but it is right to say that spending NHS money on payments of £25,000 to many pharmacies within half a mile of one other is the wrong way to spend money when we need more in cancer drugs funds, in GP surgeries and in accident and emergency—that is what we need to be doing.
David Mowat: Yes, I can reassure my hon. Friend on that. Indeed, I can make the specific point that the 25% that make up the largest pharmacies will not be in the access scheme; it is directed more at smaller pharmacies.