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SNP slams Philip Hammond's 'reckless attack' on pharmacies

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has berated chancellor Philip Hammond's "reckless budget cuts" in England, as it stresses that pharmacists are “an integral part” of healthcare in Scotland.

SNP candidate for Central Ayrshire, and surgeon, Philippa Whitford told C+D last Friday (June 2) that the Scottish government has committed that "at least half of frontline NHS spending" in the country will go towards the "community health service".

“Through this we will ensure that every GP practice has access to a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills,” she added.

The SNP failed to mention community pharmacy in its manifesto for the upcoming general election on Thursday.

However, Dr Whitford stressed to C+D that the party's health and social care delivery plan – published in December 2016 – "sets out a series of key actions for government and local health and care services...to invest in and improve primary care – including with pharmacists".

"While the Tories preside over what the Red Cross has described as a humanitarian crisis in the NHS in England – they are also attacking community pharmacies, with far too many facing closure because of Philip Hammond's reckless budget cuts," Dr Whitford said.

"Successful" minor ailments service

Dr Whitford highlighted that a pilot version of the “successful” national minor ailments service in Scotland, has been extended to cover more patients and clinical conditions.

“If patients go to their pharmacist for treatment of minor ailments rather than their GP or A&E department, it can be a much more efficient use of resources. Pharmacists can often be more accessible – meaning that patients can be treated quickly and at times that suit them,” Dr Whitford said.

"The vision of a multidisciplinary team – where pharmacists are integrated with other areas of healthcare... is more achievable in Scotland because the professions are not all competing," she added.

"And culturally, we don't believe that letting the market drive costs down is the way to deliver quality service."

Read what else the SNP said about health and social care in C+D's manifesto overview here.

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