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Maria Caulfield: Pharmacy reform update to come in matter of weeks

An announcement on the government’s planned pharmacy overhaul is only “weeks away”, pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield has exclusively told C+D. 

It comes as health secretary Sajid Javid revealed last week that pharmacy will be first on the list of the government’s planned reforms to primary care.

Speaking at the NHS ConfedExpo in Liverpool, he told delegates that the current model for primary care is not working and the government “will be setting out our plan soon”.


Read more: Sajid Javid pledges to ‘start with pharmacy’ in primary care overhaul


While details on the plans were not forthcoming from the Department of Health and Social Care, Ms Caulfield confirmed to C+D yesterday (June 21) that an announcement will come “fairly soon”.

“I’m talking, I would say, probably weeks away rather than months,” she added.


Reforms modelled on Fuller Review


Ms Caulfield revealed to C+D that the health secretary is currently looking at the recommendations in the Fuller stocktake report, published last month – which aimed to decipher the next steps for integrating primary care.

His announcement will explain how the government is planning to “support primary care and [to] build a whole community of primary care providers – whether that’s GPs, dentists, [or] community pharmacists”, Ms Caulfield said.

“We’ve all got a role to play in that”, she added.


Read more: Pharmacists ‘must be at heart’ of prevention as Javid ushers in reforms


The announcement will also detail how the government will make good on the Fuller stocktake report's recommendations to move from “just a GP model”, to “a primary care model”, she told C+D.

“Obviously, community pharmacy will be a part of that.”


Scotland “has taken the lead” on Pharmacy First


Speaking earlier in the afternoon at a Westminster Hall debate in parliament on the future of community pharmacy, Ms Caulfield told MPs that the government is “considering all options for community pharmacy and how we build on the progress that we have already made”.

 “I think it’s important to say that we have made progress but there is a lot more that can be done,” she said.


Read more: Scotland’s CPhO on ‘messy’ temporary pharmacy closures and building on COVID-19’s legacy


Responding to comments made by Scottish National Party MP Steven Bonnar on the success of Scotland’s NHS Pharmacy First Service, Ms Caulfield told MPs that “he knows I’m a Pharmacy First supporter”.

“I hate to admit it,” she added, “but Scotland has taken the lead in that”.

The government is “not afraid to learn lessons”, she said, “if that means that we have to learn from what Scotland has done”.


What aspects of primary care should be “overhauled” in order for pharmacy to thrive? Share your views on the C+D Community


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