NHS England has insufficient expertise and understanding of community pharmacy services and this must be rectified because taking decisions “in ignorance of how community pharmacy props up and supports the NHS is dangerous”, local pharmaceutical committees agreed unanimously at their annual conference on 2 November 2016.
The motion was proposed by Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiation Committee, which represents pharmacy contractors in England, who remarked on the “mooted boo” pharmacy minister David Mowat had received when he had addressed the conference earlier.
Introducing Mowat, Sharpe had told him the sector felt “bruised, betrayed and badly let down”, adding that the decision on how cuts would be implemented “was made without any understanding of how patients and people in our communities use the community pharmacy service”.
“Without that understanding you cannot hope to arrive at a good policy,” she told him.
A “particular frustration” has been the confusion between community pharmacists and pharmacies in GP practices, she added to rousing applause. “They are not the same and they do not do the same job.”
Source: Department of Health
Mowat, who announced the community pharmacy cuts in the House of Commons on 20 October 2016, replied: “There is nothing I can say today which will reverse the announcement that the government… confirmed two weeks ago other than to say that I am committed to working with this sector.
“We fully understand the difference between pharmacists working in GP practices and the community pharmacy network and the value that community pharmacy network can offer.”
Mowat explained that pharmacists within GP practices should not be regarded as competition for services. “I see those pharmacists within GP practices as making it easier for you to engage with those practices, making it easier for you to talk to GPs who are frankly too busy and we don’t have enough of them, but time will tell.”