Health secretary pledges money for community pharmacies in first speech

Sector welcomes Matt Hancock’s pledge to prioritise investment for pharmacy and primary care to relieve pressure on hospitals.

Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care

Pharmacy bodies have welcomed a pledge by the new health secretary, Matt Hancock, to invest in community pharmacy.

In his first speech since his appointment in July 2018, the MP for West Suffolk acknowledged the need to put money into community pharmacies so that they can do more to help ease pressure on secondary care.

He said that to “make the most of the extra £20bn taxpayers are rightly investing in our health service”, it was important “to make the investment in primary care and community pharmacies so people don’t need to go to hospital”.

Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, commented: “We welcome the minister’s commitment to investing in community pharmacy as a key part of primary care, to support prevention and keep people healthy and out of hospital.

“We look forward to seeing further details and working with the Department of Health and NHS England on what this will mean for pharmacists.”

Simon Dukes, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee’s (PSNC), said the announcement was “in line with PSNC’s ambitions — pharmacies are ideally placed to help people to stay healthy and avoid visits to hospital”.

Setting out his priorities for the NHS, Hancock also unveiled plans to invest £75m to help hospital trusts put in place electronic prescribing systems “which save money and reduce potentially deadly medication errors by up to 50% compared to paper systems”.

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, Health secretary pledges money for community pharmacies in first speech;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205217