Pharmacy cut announcement delayed by government reshuffle

UK prime minister Theresa May

Final details about the £170m community pharmacy cuts, which were expected to be announced in July 2016, have been delayed, possibly until after October 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal has learnt.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health (DH) says the delay to the announcement is a result of changeovers within the health team following Theresa May’s takeover as UK prime minister, and to allow the newly appointed pharmacy minister, David Mowat, time to review the policy and consultation.

“We will make an announcement in due course,” the DH says, adding that the hold-up could result in the cuts being delayed beyond October 2016, when they were due to be implemented, although no decisions have been made. “Everything’s up in the air while we’re getting ministers bedded in and having a look at this, so that will be a decision for new ministers to take,” the spokesperson says.

Former health minister Alistair Burt told the House of Commons in May 2016 that the DH would make a statement in July 2016 about the final details of the plans, in preparation for them to come into effect in October 2016.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA), which is petitioning against the cuts, says: “Ministers and officials have been forced to think longer and harder about their plans as a result of the determined campaigning efforts of NPA members and many others in the sector, and patients too.”

Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board, says the RPS will be seeking an early meeting with Mowat and hopes he will “bring clarity” around the timing of the community pharmacy reforms, which are “currently causing great anxiety and concern in the sector”.

“It’s also important we continue to progress plans for pharmacists to have enhanced roles within community pharmacy, care homes, GP surgeries and urgent care to improve patient care.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, August 2016, Vol 297, No 7892;297(7892):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201486

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