In a pre-recorded video address to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) annual conference in Birmingham this morning (September 5), David Mowat said the delay was to make sure the Department of Health (DH) was making the “correct decision” for the sector, the NHS and the public.
The DH has been considering the results of its consultation on pharmacy funding for “some while”, said Mr Mowat who could not confirm when the next steps for the cuts would be announced.
"That's all I can say at the moment, but clearly we want not to be implementing a change from October, which was our initial target," he told the conference.
The minister said he is keen to “work closely with the pharmacy profession” and added there is “no question” the sector has a “major contribution” to make to the health service.
He described the principles set out in the recently published Community Pharmacy Forward View as “spot on”, and labelled the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) petition against the cuts “an accolade” to the way pharmacy is “regarded amongst communities”.
Mr Mowat also mentioned the decriminalisation of dispensing errors and pledged the DH would "make progress with that".
Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS's English pharmacy board, said she was “heartened” that a second look was being taken at the proposed funding cuts, and that the minister recognises the “strength of public feeling on the issue”.
Ms Gidley told the conference that the society had hoped Mr Mowat would attend in person, but the minister had cited the recent government reshuffle as the reason for making a pre-recorded statement.