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Lloyds chief: Mowat may oversee pharmacy's 'demise'

The pharmacy minister could see the end of the sector if he fails to make it "relevant and compelling", the managing director of Lloydspharmacy's parent company has said.

"[David] Mowat has to own up to his responsibility," Cormac Tobin, managing director of Celesio UK told C+D in an exclusive interview last Tuesday (February 14).

"He must pay attention...to evolve and develop the industry, or he will stand over its demise."

Mr Tobin claimed that “a lot” of UK politicians do not realise the value of the face-to-face engagement in community pharmacy, giving the example of a patient who discovered a cancerous mole after following a pharmacist’s advice to visit a GP.

“We work with millions of people every week in this company and the interactions and stories are phenomenal. The amount of letters I get about how we save lives is phenomenal,” Mr Tobin said.

"I'm not quite sure some of our political representatives realise that. Some do, without a shadow of a doubt, but a lot don't."

Working with GPs from "our dedicated businesses"

He criticised Mr Mowat’s push to get 1,500 pharmacists into GP surgeries by 2021 as “not really speaking” to his industry.

“How do [community pharmacists] play a role in that? We already have our healthcare centres. Why take them out of [community pharmacies] and put them into [GP surgeries], why don't we work together?” Mr Tobin asked.

He suggested that contractors would be more motivated to progress and invest in their pharmacies if they, and their staff, could remain in their dedicated businesses.

"New world order" for healthcare

Despite some criticisms, Mr Tobin praised the government's and NHS England’s progressive digital strategy to encourage health professionals to become more technically savvy, as he claimed this approach was “at the root to driving efficiencies”.

“There's a sense of a new world order [for healthcare] and we want to passionately engage in that,” he added.

Look out for more coverage from C+D’s exclusive interview with Cormac Tobin – including what impact both Brexit and the funding cuts will have on Celesio UK – in the coming weeks

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