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Will Liz Truss ‘deliver, deliver, deliver’ for community pharmacy?

Pharmacy bodies have congratulated Liz Truss following her success in the Conservative Party leadership contest and called on her to alleviate the many pressures facing the sector.

Ms Truss bested rival Rishi Sunak in the leadership contest and is set to become the UK’s next prime minister, it was revealed yesterday (September 5).

In her victory speech, she marked out the NHS, the energy crisis and the economy as areas she would “deliver on”.

“My friends, we will deliver, we will deliver, we will deliver,” she pledged.

Read more: Not fair: Public backs calls for increased pharmacy funding as pressures intensify

For their part, pharmacy bodies have broadly welcomed Ms Truss’s appointment.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) congratulated the new Conservative Party leader and said it “looked forward” to working with her new government to “address [the] challenges” that community pharmacy faces.

PSNC CEO Janet Morrison noted that the sector will be “looking to her to help pharmacy to reach its full potential to support patients and the NHS, while recognising and alleviating the enormous pressures that the entire network now faces”.


A “doer and a reformer”


Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies CEO Leyla Hannbeck congratulated Ms Truss on her appointment and said she seemed like “a doer and a reformer” when the two women met a few months ago.

“As Liz has highlighted throughout her campaign, she wants to be a Prime Minister that delivers,” Dr Hannbeck noted. “Similarly, pharmacy is a sector that has demonstrated time and time [again] that it can deliver when given the opportunity.”

Read more: AIMp: DH must postpone excess margin recovery as 'ferocious pressures' mount

Ms Truss faces an “enormous challenge” in overseeing the public’s health, Dr Hannbeck stressed. “We are willing to help and to work closely with her new government”.

For its part, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) will “press” the new government to make good on Ms Truss’s pledge to “deliver” for the NHS, its chair Andrew Lane told C+D

“The new PM has a piled high in-tray, so collectively the pharmacy sector must convince her team that we deserve attention and support,” he commented. “That means continuing with a can-do attitude and providing excellent care, while also presenting the grim financial reality.”


A different approach?


Meanwhile, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) questioned whether after 12 years of the Conservatives in power, "yet another change of name in the offices will actually translate into a different approach”.

PDA director Paul Day called on Ms Truss’s government to “make pharmacy a profession that new entrants want to join and spend a career within”, fund an “adequate [NHS] pay rise”, and “promote” community pharmacies as important healthcare providers.

He questioned whether the sector will see “recognition and action on the impact of cuts to the community pharmacy contract” and whether the new government will be “ambitious enough” to make better use of pharmacists in its post-pandemic response to health challenges.

Read more: ‘Time to reengineer the system’: PDA pushes for two-pharmacist model

Company Chemists’ Association CEO Malcolm Harrison said that the multiples’ representative group “looks forward” to working alongside the new government on getting the best patient outcomes and value for taxpayers.

“The NHS must urgently undertake a holistic look at primary care and ensure that resources are directed where they deliver the best possible benefit to patients; only then can the potential of community pharmacy can be realised,” he said.

Ms Truss is expected to form her new government over the next few days, with speculation rife that she will name the current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, the new health secretary.

Read more: DH confirms James Morris is new pharmacy minister

It follows a cabinet shake up in July after a slew of resignations that saw Steve Barclay named as health secretary and James Morris as pharmacy minister.

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