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David Mowat must 'urgently' clarify cuts as deadline looms

New pharmacy minister David Mowat urged to clarify pharmacy funding cuts

Pharmacy Voice has written to new pharmacy minister David Mowat to request an “urgent meeting” on plans to cut the sector’s funding.

The lobbying group’s chief executive said he had written to Mr Mowat – appointed as the minister with responsibility for pharmacy yesterday (July 21) – to “seek clarification on the department’s plans” to cut funding in England by £170 million

The Department of Health (DH) was due to announce the final details of its funding plans for the sector – to come into effect in October – at some point this month. However, there was no announcement of pharmacy’s funding yesterday, the last day before parliament breaks for its summer recess.

The DH told Pharmacy Voice that the new team were taking time to consider and make a decision. They expect to make an announcement "in due course".

PSNC also seeks meeting

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is also seeking a meeting with the new minister “very early” in his new role.

“As the minister gets to grips with his new brief, we will be encouraging him to look carefully at the ill-considered proposals that led to 2.2 million people signing a petition supporting pharmacies,” said PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe.

“We will also ask him to examine carefully the thinking and analysis that underpinned those proposals and whether they have any sound basis,” Ms Sharpe added. “We have seen nothing.”

“Fresh perspective”

Both Mr Darracott and Ms Sharpe added that the appointment of Mr Mowat – who is Conservative MP for Warrington South – will bring a “fresh” perspective on the sector.

Mr Darracott added: “He now has a great opportunity to ensure that the government and the sector works more collaboratively, as we continue to develop a positive vision for the future of community pharmacy.”

Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's English Pharmacy Board, said she was "look[ing] forward to working with David Mowat on the important issues that face pharmacists, continuing the very constructive dialogue we had with his predecessor, Alistair Burt".

Ms Gidley said she was hoping Mr Mowat would be able to clairfy timings around the announcement of community pharmacy reforms, "which is currently causing great anxiety and concern in the sector".

“It’s also important we continue to progress plans for pharmacists to have enhanced roles within community pharmacy, care homes, GP surgeries and urgent care to improve patient care," she added.

Mr Mowat’s appointment – the Twitter reaction
What do you hope to see from the new pharmacy minister?

Dilip Shah, Community pharmacist

Pharmacy is the most efficient sector in the NHS, but it is not utilised to the full extent due to the inability of various governments to integrate this sector and reluctance of ministers to make bold decisions due to the pressure of  the GP sector. It requires vision and determination and finance to ensure that the aging population in looked after.

The funding cuts proposed as ill thought out and not communicated to the negotiating bodies concerned.

Congratulation  to Mr Mowat on his appouintment but please ensure you do your research properly and work with bodies which wants to make a difference in delivering better health to the nation.





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