An influential group of cross-party MPs has launched an inquiry into the impact of the government’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding in England.
The All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) announced the terms of reference for its inquiry on 8 November 2016.
The details emerged two weeks after MPs from the APPG met health minister David Mowat; Keith Ridge, chief pharmacist for England; and others from the Department of Health to discuss the cuts.
Kevin Barron, Labour MP and chair of APPG, says: “The APPG has previously called for further investment in community pharmacies to allow them to provide more health services and ease the burden on GP surgeries and hospitals.
“The Department of Health believes this can be achieved with the new funding package that has been announced. The APPG will therefore scrutinise what is being proposed in detail to better understand what their reforms will mean for community pharmacies, and the patients they serve.”
The inquiry, which will begin later in November 2016, follows confirmation by Mowat that the government will slash community pharmacy funding by 12% from December 2016 to March 2017 and by another 3.4% in 2017–2018. It will consider the impact of cuts on pharmacies, staff and services and what the government expects from pharmacists employed by GP practices.
The inquiry will also look at how the proposed £42m pharmacy integration fund and the roll out of minor ailments schemes will work.
The APPG, which receives financial support from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Pharmacy Voice, will consider whether the pharmacy access scheme will guarantee the long-term future of premises in remote or deprived areas. It also intends to look at the potential impact of the King’s Fund review of community pharmacy.