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Pharmacy First spending set to rise to £250m by 2027 under Tory manifesto

The Conservative Party has revealed that it expects spending on the Pharmacy First service to increase more than tenfold by 2027 in its manifesto for the upcoming July 4 general election.

Rishi Sunak has pledged that a Conservative government would expand Pharmacy First, with estimated spending increasing to £250 million per year by 2027-28.

A costing document published alongside the new election manifesto today (June 11) estimated spending on Pharmacy First to be:

  • £20m in 2025/26
  • £49m in 2026/27
  • £250m from 2027/28 to 2029/30

Vote in C+D's week three election sentiment tracker poll

The manifesto reiterated plans announced last week (June 2) that if re-elected the party would "expand Pharmacy First, including for menopause support, contraception and treatment for chest infections".

It said it would "increase NHS spending above inflation every year...driving up productivity in the NHS" if elected at the July 4 general election.

The manifesto added that a Tory government would deliver a "business rates support package worth £4.3 billion over the next five years to support small businesses and the high street".

Read more: Lib Dems pledge 'fairer' funding and ‘more pharmacist prescribing rights’

It also promised to: 

  • "Maintain all current pensioner benefits including...free prescriptions"
  • "Cut taxes to support the self-employed by abolishing the main rate of self-employed National Insurance entirely by the end of the Parliament"
  • "Introduce a new licensing scheme and age limits for non-surgical cosmetic procedures"
  • "Make the NHS App the single front door for NHS services", allowing patients to "access their medical records, order prescriptions [and] book vaccine appointments"

However, the manifesto did not expand on previously announced national service plans that could see 18-year-olds delivering prescriptions.

 

“Delighted”

 

Chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) Malcolm Harrison said that the membership body was “delighted to see that the Conservative Party manifesto agrees with [its] calls to expand Pharmacy First”.

“This policy pledge is a no-brainer and makes sense for patients, pharmacies and general practice,” he added.

Read more: NPA lauds Labour plan to reform high street pharmacy business rates

But he stressed that any expansion to the service “must be fully funded”.

“The next government must close the deficit in funding to protect patients’ access to the community pharmacy network,” he said.

Read more: C+D election tracker: Conservative collapse deepens in sector vote

Last week, the Labour Party announced its plan to “replace the business rates system with a new system that will level the playing field between the high street and online giants”.

And yesterday (June 10) Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey promised more prescribing rights for pharmacists as well as “fairer and more sustainable funding” as he launched his party’s election manifesto.

Read more: No time to waste! Politicians ‘of all colours’ must expand Pharmacy First

Meanwhile, C+D’s election sentiment tracker has been running for the last two weeks, with a third poll currently underway.

The results have signalled a fall in support for the Conservative Party, which was preferred by just one in ten C+D readers in the second week of polling.

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