Layer 1

Hunt's reappointment 'a good thing' for pharmacy

Mr Hunt has had three years to familiarise himself with the sector

The reinstatement of Jeremy Hunt as health secretary will avoid the disruption of another NHS reorganisation, say pharmacy leaders


Jeremy Hunt’s reappointment as health secretary will provide continuity for the sector, senior pharmacy figures have told C+D.

Prime Minister David Cameron reinstated Mr Hunt yesterday (May 11) following the Conservative’s party’s election victory last week. Mr Hunt took on the role in 2012 and oversaw the commissioning reforms the following year.

Numark managing director John D’Arcy said Mr Hunt’s reappointment was a “good thing” for pharmacy. “He had three years to understand the people he’s working with – the continuity linked with experience should put us in reasonable stead,” Mr D’Arcy told C+D.

But he said that ultimately it “doesn’t matter who is doing the job”. “The fundamental problem is trying to match supply [in the NHS] with demand. The ability of one individual to influence [that] is limited,” he added.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said he was glad that the sector did not “have to start again” with a new health secretary. Mr Hunt had visited two pharmacies in the past six months – including Kaye’s Chemist in Cornwall – which showed he had some familiarity with the community pharmacists’ role, Mr Darrcott told C+D.

“It is also nice when the secretary of state wants the job. He has a focus on patient safety and wants to carry on with his direction of travel,” he added.

Mr Darracott stressed that it “had to be good” that the NHS would not undergo another reorganisation, because the most recent reforms had “paralysed the service for three years”.

‘Benefits and risks’

Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Ash Soni said Mr Hunt’s reappointment brought both benefits and risks for the sector. “He understands the financial challenge [to the NHS] and the opportunity pharmacy offers,” Mr Soni told C+D.

However, the health secretary had “known what pharmacy can offer but failed to use [its] value” so far, he added.

Mr Hunt said his "biggest priority" was to "transform care outside of hospitals". "We need a step change in services offered through GP surgeries, community care and social care - that is my mission," he said today (May 12). 

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire Alistair Burt was appointed as minister of state at the Department of Health (DH) yesterday, while Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was appointed as parliamentary under secretary of state for the DH this morning. The DH told C+D yesterday that it had made no announcement on whether Earl Howe would remain pharmacy minister.

How will Mr Hunt's reappointment affect the sector? 

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Why? He's done sweet FA in the past five years except turn up at awards ceremonies to eat nice food and drink champagne.

Edward H Rowan, Locum pharmacist

He's visited two pharmacies in the last six months, which gives him some familiarity with the pharmacist's role! I'll be bearing that in mind in future when applying for jobs as boss of an airport, or an hotel, or a cinema, and I can tell the employers that I'm familiar with running those places.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

You're on the right track, looking for an exit from Pharmacy.

Shaun Hockey, Community pharmacist

I know I always mention the same thing but please stop going on about how a profession can deliver the 5YP! A profession can't but professionals can. Focus on individual pharmacists and how they can help deliver the 5YP. Shops can't deliver anything it's the professionals within that can and it's much easier to engage with a person than a building!! Community pharmacies play a vital role in medication supply but massively limited in delivery of anything else due to space/workload/lack of access to patient records. Get out of the pharmacy as there's lots of opportunities for individual pharmacists

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Community pharmaCIES are a highly-accessible public-health network Moreover HLP is about the place and the team which, yes, does include community outreach events which all HLPs are required to provide. The 5YFV requires pace and scale, and is focused on a pro-active positive approach to public health. The community pharmCY network is perfectly placed to deliver. All we need is a bit of investment and access to the summary care record. No one suggests that GP PRACTICES are just GPs.. they are a well-understood place and a team. Community PharmaCIES are no different. As ever you demonstrate a profound ignorance of how community pharmacies function and the Social Capital they represent.

I would like to believe that continuity may have benefits but think the comments of "senior pharmacy figures" are somewhat over-optimistic. Lansley did nothing for pharmacy, Hunt has done nothing and the chances of some epiphany are very slight. Yes they may see "potential" but have never shown any great signs of utilising and - importantly - remunerating it. If they did so, I think it will be at the cost of other services; its unlikely that the global sum will change significantly. Believe me, I'd love to be wrong!

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

The global sum is about dispensing. If pharmacy wants more money, we need to show our value in public health, screening, early diagnosis, reducing waste, reducing administration errors in homes, keeping people in their own homes for longer, chronic conditions management, etc. If we can use our skills to save the NHS money , and prove it, then and only then will we be given more money.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Hi Paul. If only it were that simple! If the NHS were a meritocracy, then the NHS would invest in community pharmacy in relation to evidence and outcome. But, esp post the Lansley reforms, we are overwhelmingly locked out of NHS commissioners. The evidence for this is virtually nationwide and is compelling. By no means am I suggesting evidence or outcomes don't matter- of course they are fundamental. But until we get to grips with the politics of healthcare, we will continue to enjoy a few crumbs from the rich man's table. More on this here : Regards Graham

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Spoken like a true politician

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

The potential for pharmacy to deliver Simon Stephens' Five Year Forward View is obvious (to us) but probably not to Jeremy Hunt or Simon Stephens for that matter. We must engage with both and impress upon them the potential

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"""He had three years to understand the people he’s working with"""" ............ and still, as Ash says, he never did much. Now he will utilise another 5 years to understand us BETTER, while still not addressing the pressing issues we face. Time will tell. His priority is not Pharmacy, his priority is more cuts to NHS and get all the work done through all those involved with NHS at a much lesser payout !!! Watch this space.

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

You have to realise that the ministers priority isn't pharmacy, or "the pressing issues we face". His priority is getting the NHS to work more efficiently. We know that 38% of what GPs do could be done by pharmacists . Whether that is treating minor illnesses or chronic disease management we could do it just as well, more cost effectively and more conveniently for the patients. We won't get anywhere by complaining it's not fair, the politicians don't care, and quite rightly so. They don't owe pharmacy anything. We must prove that we are needed to save the NHS

Job of the week

Relief Pharmacist or store based Pharmacist
Mid Wales - Powys (Builth and Lland
Competitive Salary + Location Supplement and Benefits