Mr Hancock wants “to trust and empower community pharmacists to provide more urgent care services, like they do in France”, he said in a video address to the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) conference yesterday (June 20)
C+D exclusively revealed last October that Mr Hancock is keen to “move towards the French model for pharmacies, where they do more”. Last month, the health secretary told C+D he had recently spoken about this model with his “French counterpart”, Agnès Buzyn.
In yesterday’s video message, Mr Hancock said: “I want pharmacist’s to be more integrated with primary and community health…and I want pharmacists to be seen as a core part of the prevention agenda.”
“Community pharmacists are a vital part of the NHS team and what you're going to be doing is ever more important to the NHS and to the country,” he said.
The NHS needs to “draw on [pharmacists’] experience” of treating minor ailments, supporting GPs, dispensing medicines safely and helping people live healthier lives, he added, “and crucially, your invaluable human connection with the people you serve in your communities”.
“People trust you, they rely on you,” he told the conference. “I want us to build on that unique relationship.”
“I think we can look forward with optimism to the months and years ahead,” Mr Hancock concluded.
Last week, C+D editor James Waldron spoke to Anne-Hélène Lebec – former chief executive of 1,300-strong pharmacy network Giphar France – on stage at the PharmacyForum conference to find out more about the French pharmacy model. Look out for more coverage on the C+D website in the coming weeks.