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Labour MP: Pharmacists must keep fighting for services

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth says pharmacy representatives are "starting to speak out for themselves"


Pharmacy organisations need to "keep fighting their corners" if they want more services commissioned, a Labour MP has said. 

The organisations are "starting to speak out for themselves" but they are vying for attention "alongside other clinical and medical interests that want to provide services", Bristol South MP Karin Smyth told C+D at a Westminster Forum debate yesterday (October 20). 

Ministers have been discussing the delivery of urgent and emergency care in parliament "quite a lot recently", Ms Smyth said. The sector remains "under-used", but it is "up to local commissioners" to direct patients to community pharmacies, she stressed.

"If there is a good community pharmacy and people understand the level of clinical support [it can offer], they will use it. We need services where people are, rather than directing them to something that may or may not work," she said. 

Pharmacists can have a particularly important role caring for older people who wish to stay at home, she told C+D.

Shadow health secretary "pleased" with representation

Ms Smyth added that new shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander was “astonished and pleased” at the number groups that want to talk to her.

“She has done a number of visits and conversations already. There are some fantastic ideas out there and it is about trying to garner them and make them happen," Ms Smyth said.

Ms Smyth was one of the MPs who visited their local pharmacy as part of a Royal Pharmaceutical Society scheme before May's general election.


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