MPs and Peers have this week continued to discuss community pharmacy matters in Westminster, with pharmacy to be the subject of a new inquiry by cross-party MPs.
Community Pharmacy England has also remained in contact with many MPs and Peers including briefing them on the ongoing challenges facing pharmacies and last month co-hosting a roundtable for Peers on the Primary Care Access Plan.
On Thursday this week, the Select Committee on Health and Social Care launched a new inquiry looking at the future of community pharmacy. Steve Brine MP, Chair of the Committee, said “Pharmacy has a central role to play in the future of the NHS. With a greater focus on personalised and patient-centred healthcare, we will be asking what more must be done to make sure that the profession is in the best shape to meet demand.”
Community Pharmacy England will be responding to the inquiry, drawing from the vision work that we have commissioned Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund to do and which we will be consulting the sector on again soon.
Also this week, in a session of the House of Lords Integration of Primary and Community Care Committee, a senior official at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) gave evidence on community pharmacy and the Government’s upcoming NHS workforce plan.
Ed Scully, Director of Primary and Community Care, talked through the details of the Primary Care Access Plan published last month, confirming that the £645m investment in community pharmacy is ‘new money’ for primary care.
This was in response to Broness Tyler asking how it could be ensured that pharmacies had sufficient staff and resources to take on the extra responsibilities that were envisaged.
Mr Scully also told Peers that the Government is planning to change the law to allow pharmacy technicians to do more, including to supply prescription only medicines via the common conditions service, and that the workforce plan would include requirements for expanding education and training for pharmacists.
Community Pharmacy England in Parliament
Community Pharmacy England has been in contact with a large number of MPs and Peers since our rebrand to offer them information and local briefings on community pharmacy.
Meetings with MPs are ongoing, and last month we were part of a briefing session for Peers to hear from us and from The King’s Fund about what the Primary Care Access Plan means for community pharmacy.
Peers from all parties attended the event and heard from Janet Morrison, Community Pharmacy England CEO, about the challenges pharmacies are facing and what the Access Plan might mean for the future. They had concerns about capacity and funding in the sector, as well as possible patient concerns, all of which Janet spoke on.
We are currently planning a further Parliamentary drop-in event to take place ahead of Parliament rising for the summer recess.