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Kirit Patel: Government won’t back down on funding cut

The Day Lewis CEO warns that chancellor George Osborne's focus on austerity is driving the 6% cut to the global sum in England

EXCLUSIVE

The government will not back down from its proposals to slash pharmacy funding, Day Lewis CEO Kirit Patel has warned.

Chancellor George Osborne is “focused on austerity”, giving the Department of Health little choice but to make the 6% cut in England, Mr Patel told C+D yesterday (February 17).

The government’s decision to impose a contract on junior doctors despite their strike action shows it will stand its ground on pharmacy cuts, Mr Patel said at the Sigma conference in Jamaica.

Mr Patel, who is also vice-chair of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), stressed that the negotiator will push for more money for services to mitigate the effects of the cut.

Paying for services is the only way the government can shape a more clinically-focused pharmacy sector, Mr Patel said. “Unless there is money, why would we want to be clinical?” he asked.

Minor ailments a "no-brainer"

Mr Patel said commissioning pharmacy services is “an investment”, rather than a cost – citing a proposed national minor ailments scheme. “[The service] can save doctors’ and A&E time. It’s a no-brainer,” he told C+D.

Diabetes represents another opportunity for pharmacy, he added. “We spend £10bn [a year] on diabetes. We should ask: 'What could you have done to help reduce that £10bn by utilising pharmacy?'" he said.

“For me, it’s better for the NHS to commission services now and reduce costs down the line,” Mr Patel added.

During his talk to delegates, Mr Patel said the “only real survivors” of the tough funding environment will be pharmacies that are willing to provide services.

 


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