The House of Commons Health Select Committee has postponed a one-off evidence session on community pharmacy scheduled for 13 December 2016 until 2017 owing to legal action launched by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) against the government’s proposals for cuts to the community pharmacy budget.
The session will consider the government’s plans for reform of community pharmacy, which were announced in the House of Commons on 20 October 2016, and the conclusions of the Independent Review of Community Pharmacy Clinical Services, chaired by Richard Murray, which was published on 14 December 2016.
Murray will be called to appear before the committee, as well as the pharmacy minister David Mowat and the chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, Keith Ridge. Representatives of the community pharmacy sector from the PSNC, the negotiating body for community pharmacy contractors in England; Pharmacy Voice, the trade association that represents community pharmacy in England; and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the professional leadership body for pharmacists in Great Britain, will also appear before the committee to answer questions.
Sue Sharpe, PSNC chief executive, says: “We are very pleased that the Health Select Committee has agreed to hold a short inquiry into community pharmacy. It is vitally important that parliament is able to properly scrutinise both the recent changes in community pharmacy funding and the findings of the Murray review, and pharmacy would value the committee’s insights on how best community pharmacy can be used in the future to support the NHS.”
She adds: “We are concerned that the committee should not be constrained in its inquiry by PSNC’s litigation, and after discussion with the committee clerk we concluded that holding the inquiry after the conclusion of the litigation would be best so as not to limit the scope of any discussions. The report of the Murray review has not yet been published and it is important that there is time to consider its recommendations carefully, before the inquiry takes place.”
The cross-party Health Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the policy and expenditure of the Department of Health and its associated bodies.