Labour MP vows to draw attention to pharmacy funding cuts
Kate Hoey: Government has not looked at cost to health sector if pharmacy suffers
A Labour MP has vowed to unite politicians to fight against the pharmacy funding cuts.
Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall, told C+D she will “work together” with other MPs who receive “direct representations” from pharmacists in their constituencies to draw up a parliamentary motion on the cuts.
The cuts, announced by the Department of Health (DH) in December, will see the global sum for England cut by at least £170 million in October.
The motion could “draw ministers’ attention” to the plight of pharmacists, she said at a Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) meeting in parliament on Tuesday (January 12).
The government has not looked at the “specific ongoing costs” of what will happen to the health service when pharmacists are not able to “work the way they do”, she stressed.
"Pharmacists must speak out"
Members of the health community must also “speak out” about the proposed cuts to make the public aware of the situation, Ms Hoey said.
Although the public “really trust” their local pharmacist, many do not realise how the sector will be affected by the cuts and “need to be educated to understand what is happening”, she said.
Ms Hoey also promised to work with pharmacists to help them deal with the most extreme aspects of the cuts. “Joined-up thinking” could save money, because “working together [with GPs] doesn’t have to cost anything”, she added.
Speaking at the same event, The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chair Ian Strachan said it is diffcult for contractors to be strategic with funding cuts on the horizon because they will "marginalise pharmacy". "The accessibility of community pharmacy is under threat," he said.