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Jacob Rees-Mogg praises pharmacies for hard work during COVID pandemic

Mr Rees-Mogg did not clarify exactly what role pharmacists will play in COVID-19 vaccinations. Pic credit: UK Parliament

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons, has commended pharmacies for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic, calling them the “bedrock of local communities”.

The Conservative MP was responding to a question about pharmacy funding from fellow Conservative MP Elliot Colburn during business of the house questions last week (November 19).

Mr Colburn said pharmacists were “ready to do so much more than they currently can provide, including providing COVID vaccinations”.

He asked: “Can we have a debate about expanding the role of community pharmacies, and ensuring they have the funding model that reflects the work that they do?”

In response, Mr Rees-Mogg said: have shown themselves [to be] a bedrock of local communities this year. Their doors have remained open and the pharmacists within welcoming and wise.

“They have been a model of public service and I would like to commend community pharmacies for the essential work they have done throughout the pandemic.”

He added that the vaccination programme will require a “great national effort” but did not make a commitment on pharmacists’ roles in this, nor on funding. 

“[Mr Colburn] makes an important point about the role of pharmacists in distributing and administering the vaccine. He is absolutely right to raise this, and I will pass his suggestion on to the secretary of state,” Mr Rees-Mogg said.

NPA: “Meaningful support” needed

In response, National Pharmacy Association chief executive Mark Lyonette said that Mr Rees-Mogg is the latest in a “long line” of cabinet ministers who have praised community pharmacy.

He said: “It is time to turn this into meaningful support on the ground, which has to include providing sufficient funding.

“There is loads of goodwill, but the key matter of resources keeps bouncing around between the Treasury, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. One of these must seize the initiative, or they will all be jointly responsible for the erosion of a critical health care asset.”

He added that the parliamentary profile of community is rising, partly due to the advocacy of pharmacy leaders and the “excellent support” by pharmacy teams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes after Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann praised community pharmacy teams for their work in the face of “unrelenting pressures” this year.

Pharmacy minister Jo Churchill also recognised the “outstanding” effort of community pharmacies in an open letter in April.

What do you make of Mr Rees-Mogg's comments?

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

The old saying "fine words butter no parsnips" comes to mind!

Gary Elton, Community pharmacist

It still feels like the government will string out the goodwill messages to community pharmacy until the Covid pandemic is over , then continue to carry out the stated objective of culling 20% of community pharmacies by financial attrition. The strategy is to play the long game with us,but throw money at PPE suppliers and other Covid useful industries where they have been embarrassed by inadequate long term pandemic planning. Hope I'm wrong but don't bet your mortgage on Covid costs being met.

Pauline Wells, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

How about getting paid for this? All we get are pay cuts, down to minimum wages but still expected to do training in our own time.

MrR Patel, Community pharmacist

It’s funny how those who don’t have a clue about leadership, refer to themselves as pharmacy leader. Community pharmacy has worked its socks off during this pandemic Mr Lyonette and it has been there for everyone to see. If we had strong leadership this sector would not have been walked all over. 

Ashley Pharmacist , Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Well said and very true

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Praise ?! Mortgage lenders are very impressed but still won't accept it. 

Thank you Jacob, very cool!

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

If this lanky streak of Victorian smog wants to praise us, maybe he should back it up with some decent funding!

PoPeYe- Popeys Car Wash, Community pharmacist

That's a fine variation on the "haunted Victorian pencil" line I read about him a few weeks back. And yes, talk is cheap!


Dave Downham, Manager

Clap, clap, clap...

Bob Dunkley, Locum pharmacist

Pharmacies were the bedrock of the community in the Victorian age that Rees-Mogg seems to inhabit.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

He does look like something like an old-style victorian-esque villain, doesn't he?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Yeah, he's going to praise what we do because it doesn't cost them anything, does it?

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