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Jo Churchill appointed as new pharmacy minister

Ms Churchill was one of 305 MPs who voted in favour of pharmacy funding cuts in 2016
Ms Churchill was one of 305 MPs who voted in favour of pharmacy funding cuts in 2016

Jo Churchill is the new minister with responsibility for pharmacy, the government has confirmed.

Ms Churchill was appointed parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) on July 26, following a cabinet reshuffle by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson which saw previous pharmacy minister Seema Kennedy moved to the Home Office.

The DH confirmed this afternoon (August 14) that Ms Churchill – who has been MP for Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk since 2015 – will be responsible for pharmacy as part of her new prevention, public health and primary care role. She previously held the role of assistant government whip from January 2018 to July 2019.

Ms Churchill was among 305 MPs who voted in favour of the pharmacy funding cuts in England in 2016. Only one Conservative MP voted against the cuts.

Past support for pharmacies

In a 2017 parliamentary debate about pharmacy and integrated healthcare in England, Ms Churchill said the British public “need to be made more aware of what pharmacies can do and how they can help people keep healthy”.

Ms Churchill also said the term “pharmacy-first culture” is a “good motto for everybody to live by”, and added that pharmacies are “often not used to their full value”.

In particular, Ms Churchill wanted to show both the “crucial role of community pharmacies", and the “competition they face from high street providers”, as quoted in an article published on her website following the debate.

“Our independent pharmacies provide us with choice, often with bespoke services aimed towards the needs of local communties,” she continued.

Ms Churchill added that she is a “great supporter” of pharmacies being a first port-of-call for minor ailments, and stressed the importance of local pharmacies in delivering a ”smoother running and a more joined-up healthcare system”.

Pharmacy tweets

Ms Churchill's Twitter account shows evidence of her commitment to community pharmacy over recent years.

In 2017, she tweeted an image of herself visiting Croasdales Chemist, an independent pharmacy in her constituency, to receive her flu jab.

Other tweets relating to community pharmacy include Ms Churchill's visits to a branch of Day Lewis and Elmswell Pharmacy.

What do you make of Ms Churchill's appointment?

Jonathon Churchill, Locum pharmacist

Haha for a second I thought this was me ='D

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Guaranteed, you would do a better job.

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I understand the discontent here, myself included, because pharmacy ministers have been completely and utterly useless and have never achieved anything for the profession. I agree that a locum pharmacist would be far more qualified to do a good job in this position. But unless the locum went to Eton and had family and friend in the government, that's never going to happen. That's the nature of the UK government. Personal gain and career progession is much more important than the specific role, and as I understand it, being a pharmacy minister is akin to being told to sit in the corner with a dunce cap on.

Anyone expecting her to actually do anything other than suck money from the taxpayer is severely deluded.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Government whip to pharmacy minister a demotion put out to pasture a nobody job just think about the pay rise as a minister 

David Kent, Community pharmacist



When will we take our heads out of tthe sand and admit to ourselves that nobody gives a damn about pharmacy as a profession.  As long as the patients get their Rx dispensed thats all they care about.  Pharmacists, on the whole, and I speak of community pharmacy are only interested in Rx numbers and profit.  Most current pharmacies are deplorable with staff who are not professinal in dress or atititudes and premises in a state of disrepair and often downright dirty.   I cannot remember when even the most basic information relating to medication has been proferred.   PMR are only use to generate labels an patients are not informed of changes to dose or medication.  I am ashamed to be a memner of this 'profession' I am not surprised that Government has no time foe use.  Our negotiating body is inefectual and more interested in their own well remunerated jobs tha in fighting for what is left of our 'profession'. 

If your pharmacy is clean and professionally run then i apologise to those of you; but you are in the minority.

Do not blame funding.


Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

She’s a conservative MP, who like the majority of them, voted for the cuts. She’s no pharmacy supporter. 

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

She won't do anything.

Priyesh Desai, Superintendent Pharmacist

Another brick in the wall

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I'm not holding my breath over this. There hasn't been a decent pharmacy minister probably ever, so I don't see this one being any different.

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Here we go again. Just clinging on to a government role until she gets promoted to something better, as all previous ministers have done. Wonder if she'll start saying how great Spanish pharmacies are so that she can get some nice little freebie holidays?

PARESH shah, Community pharmacist

Why have Pharmacy ministers. All past ones have been puppets. No real voice. Just following an agenda which had been preset in 2015.

Andrew Morrison, Superintendent Pharmacist

I wonder how long this Pharmacy minister will last........


C A, Community pharmacist

Which will come first - Brexit or a new Pharmacy Minister?

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

Voted for pharmacy cuts? Well there's a great start.

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