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HSCC chair urges government to deliver extra pharmacy funding 'fast'

The chair of the Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC) has called on the government to ensure that “extra” funding is rolled out to community pharmacies “fast”.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on the health and social care workforce last week (July 13), HSCC chair and former pharmacy minister Steve Brine said that there must be a “fast-paced rollout” of the recovery plan for primary care.

The plan, published in May, revealed that community pharmacy would receive “up to £645 million” over two years to “expand” services, including a Pharmacy First service, which would launch by the end of the year.

Read more: 'Our funding is rotten': Sector needs £1.1bn now, warns AIMp chief

The pharmacy negotiator this month said that negotiations on the expanded services - including around payment - could conclude as soon as this month.

Mr Brine told MPs attending the debate that the “extra money for community pharmacies [must] move through the contract fast”.

Read more: ‘Many supporters’: Cross-party MPs pledge support for community pharmacy

He said that this is “critical” to the “retention of general practice staff” and to “this winter being better than last”.

It comes as AIMp chief Dr Leyla Hannbeck has warned that an immediate £1.1 billion cash injection, in addition to funding for expanded services, is needed to help community pharmacy deal with “astronomically” rising costs.

Workforce plan “landed well”

Meanwhile, Mr Brine also told MPs that he was “delighted” by the publication of the long-awaited NHS workforce plan last month.

He said that the plan was “very much welcomed” and “landed well”, with “messages of support” from 46 organisations.

Read more: ‘A sad day for community pharmacy’: Sector reacts to NHSE workforce plan

And he added that the government was “right to resist the constant tedious calls…to get on and publish the plan”, saying that “the most important thing was to get it right”.

“I do not underestimate how difficult it was to get the workforce plan out…I know that it takes time to get these things done and it was right that the government took its time,” Mr Brine told MPs.

While the long-term workforce plan was welcomed by some sector leaders, others said that its publication marked a “sad day for community pharmacy”.


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