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UPDATED: Labour promises 'community pharmacist prescribing service'

Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to ease GP "pressure" by granting pharmacists more "prescribing rights" as he launched the Labour Party manifesto today.

The Labour Party has vowed to grant "more pharmacists independent prescribing rights where clinically appropriate" to ease "pressure" on GP surgeries, it announced in its manifesto released today (June 13).

A Labour government would see the introduction of a "community pharmacist prescribing service" that would improve patients' "access to services and treatment through new routes", it said.

Read more: Channel 4 health debate calls for pharmacists to ‘grill’ politicians

The manifesto – which included health as one of the party’s five “missions to rebuild Britain” - also promised to "shift resources to primary care and community services" as it set forth a vision of the NHS becoming a "Neighbourhood Health Service".

But Labour did not explicitly promise additional funding for community pharmacy, saying that “investment alone” would not solve “the problems facing the NHS”. 


Prevention agenda



However, it promised “fundamental reform” to create “an NHS fit for the future”.

It pledged to “transform the NHS app” so that patients are “in control” of managing medicines, appointments and other “health needs”.

And the party placed a large emphasis on preventing ill health in its manifesto, saying that the NHS should not be “just a sickness service”.

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

To achieve this, it promised “opt-out” smoking cessation services in hospitals, to ban vapes “branded and advertised to appeal to children” and to “ensure the next generation can never legally buy cigarettes”.

Labour’s plan envisions that more care should happen in local communities that can “spot problems earlier” and away from “a model geared towards late diagnosis and treatment”.

Read more: Green Party pledges to make PrEP available in pharmacies and online

It promised a “renewed drive to tackle the biggest killers” in cancer, cardiovascular disease and suicide.

Labour said it would trial “Neighbourhood Health Centres”, which would house “services such as family doctors, district nurses, care workers, physiotherapists, palliative care and mental health specialists under one roof”. 


Labour on labour


Meanwhile, Labour’s manifesto took note of the persistent industrial action from doctors working in the NHS and said it would “reset relations with NHS staff”.

It also promised that a Labour government would regularly publish “independent workforce planning across health and social care”. 

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

“We will deliver the NHS long-term workforce plan to train the staff we need to get patients seen on time,” it said.

Labour’s strike and workforce promises come as the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) last week announced a “day of protest action” to highlight the “emergency across the community pharmacy sector”.




Yesterday, C+D revealed that health will be at the forefront of a Channel 4 election debate, to be held on June 24 ahead of the July 4 general election.

A producer for the show said that they were seeking pharmacists to “respond to the proposals to expand the Pharmacy First scheme” and “share their experiences of working in healthcare [or] the NHS”.

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

Also yesterday, the Green Party released its manifesto in which it promised to push for “access to the HIV prevention pill online, in pharmacies and from GP services” to “end new cases” of the disease.

On Tuesday, the Conservative Party revealed that it expects spending on the Pharmacy First service to increase by £250m by 2027 in its manifesto for the upcoming election.

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

And on Monday, the Liberal Democrat Party said that it would prioritise securing “a fairer and more sustainable long-term funding model for pharmacies” and “build on the Pharmacy First approach to give patients more accessible routine services”.

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”. 

Vote in C+D's week four election sentiment tracker poll - launching via LinkedIn on Monday

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