Prime Minister David Cameron has responded to a question on the planned cuts to pharmacy funding by stressing that the government wants "value for money".
There had been a “massive increase” in pharmacy spending over the last five years, Mr Cameron said in response to a question from Sue Hayman MP at Prime Minister’s Questions today (April 20).
Alongside its mission to get value for money, the government must "make sure that as much NHS resources go to the front line – the doctors and the nurses and the operations and the A&E", Mr Cameron said.
Ms Hayman, Labour MP for Workington, used her question to highlight a petition launched by Alison’s Chemist in Cockermouth in opposition to the planned 6% cut to funding in England. The petition has been signed by more than 2,000 people, she stressed.
Ms Hayman referred to the recent negative coverage of medicines use reviews (MURs) carried out by Boots staff, and asked: “Isn’t it time the Prime Minister and his government supported independent pharmacies like Alison’s, which are a vital lifeline for our community and help to keep our high streets alive?”
Mr Cameron added that there is “a specific scheme" to support rural pharmacies.
Watch the Prime Minister's response here.
PSNC: Cameron “poorly briefed”
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) accused Mr Cameron of being “poorly briefed” on the sector by his officials.
PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe stressed that community pharmacists are the “front line” that keep patients from GP surgeries and A&E departments, and provide “excellent value for money”.
It is “not accurate” for the Prime Minister to suggest that there had been a large increase in pharmacy funding over the past five years, because the global sum has grown “significantly slower” than inflation and rising prescription costs, Ms Sharpe said yesterday (April 20).
Funding for the sector has grown at a slower pace than overall funding from the NHS, she stressed.
PSNC is continuing to discuss its counter proposals to 2016’s community pharmacy contract with the government and NHS England, Ms Sharpe added.
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has written to the Prime Minister about his comments. Read the full letter here.