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Conservatives set out five ways to expand sector's role

The party did not explain why the sector was not mentioned in its manifesto

Pharmacists could boost preventative healthcare by managing repeat prescriptions, supporting GPs and promoting self-care, says party

The Conservative party has set out five areas in which it wants community pharmacists to have a greater role.

The party did not answer a question from C+D about why the sector did not feature in its election pledges, but insisted pharmacists' skills were necessary to create a "preventative healthcare system".

Pharmacists could do more to manage repeat prescriptions, help older people take their medicines as intended, free up GPs' time and specifically support them through medicine optimisation services, the Conservative party said on Thursday (April 30). They could also be the first port of call for minor ailments, lifestyle advice and support for the self-management of conditions, it told C+D.

"Only by utilising the skills that we have in community pharmacy will we build the more proactive, preventative healthcare system that we all want to see," the party said.

The Conservatives also gave their backing to NHS England's Five Year Forward View document. Although the strategy document only referred to the sector four times - including a call for pharmacists to form large-scale primary care practices with GPs and other healthcare professionals - the Conservative party said it set out "a clear vision for the future which makes better use of our 11,500 pharmacies".
The party had shown its support for this strategy by committing "an additional £8 billion a year for the NHS by 2020", it added.

The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party were the only mainstream parties to refer to community pharmacy in their manifestos. Labour did not mention the sector in its pledges, but the party's shadow health secretary Andy Burnham told C+D that it would seek readers' views on the sector's future if it was elected on Thursday.

Which election outcome would most benefit the sector? 

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Hemant Patel, Community pharmacist

It's so easy to fob off pharmacy!

the fact that pharmacy wasn't mentioned in pre-election pledges may be a bonus. This way we can only be pleasantly surprised post-election rather than disappointed and disillusioned as the existing pledges are betrayed

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