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Hancock wants pharmacists to provide more urgent care, ‘like France’

Matt Hancock: NHS should draw on pharmacists' invaluable human connection with patients
Matt Hancock: NHS should draw on pharmacists' invaluable human connection with patients

Health secretary Matt Hancock has reiterated his vision for community pharmacies to follow the “French model” of providing more urgent care services.

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.

Watch the health secretary’s message in full:

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.

Does your pharmacy offer any urgent care services?

Simon Patel, Student

Honestly a bit disappointing. Pharmacists are not necessarily trained for, and what's more, pharmacies are already suffering heavy losses in an industry that does not look to be sustainable in the future! Thanks Mr. Hancock, for saying so many words, but telling us so little in the meantime.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

I feel as if I need to brush up on my French, the amount of times he’s gone on about it! 

Sunil Patel, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Nothing new then. Glad didn’t go to NPA conference to hear the same things being repeated again. Community pharmacies  are under a lot of pressure due to lack of funding, shortages, constant bureaucracy and so on. Perhaps the NPA should be focusing on lobbying and highlighting these and actually doing something rather than these repetitions. We have heard all of this before. 

V K P, Community pharmacist

you want the pharmacist to do everything? where is the funding for it?

and what are you beloved GPs going to do???

they do not want to do the taks that they trained for and MR Hancock wants the pharmacist to do the minor ailments which have got nothing aligned with utilizing a medicines expert skills.

I would like the MBBS degree and pay package to follow the work that is being pushed our way. how about starting on that note and forget about France.

Bob Dunkley, Locum pharmacist

Having had my first taste of urgent care initiatives  in the form of the NUMSAS programme, I declare this to be a junky's charter, an excuse for serious violence against pharmacy staff and an opportunity for all the hypochondriacs of the area to seriously stock up.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

NUMSAS definitely needs another look, I recall seeing a referral for "Temasapam" - there's so many issues with that I didn't even know where to begin.

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Just give them the flippin' Jellies you jobsworth

We've heard these things before many many times over the years. Until we hear some actual detail, it means nothing. 

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

How about we vote for a single activity fee for all MPs and Ministers. This way they don't be entangled in the expenses row??

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

 “to trust and empower community pharmacists to provide more urgent care services, like they do in France”

So true. But, has he followed the funding plan as in France? or just the role to be part of the paltry single activity fee??

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Will they be remunerated correctly for these extra services too?

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