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Lloyds chief to Mowat: Put your money where your mouth is

Tobin (left) to Mowat (right): A national minor ailments service is common sense

The managing director of Lloydspharmacy's parent company has urged the pharmacy minister to deliver on his “vague promises” and invest in the sector.

Cormac Tobin, managing director of Lloydspharmacy's parent company Celesio UK, said it is a “matter of common sense” to allow pharmacists to help relieve some of the pressure on the NHS through a nationally funded minor ailments scheme.

“We are yet to see [David Mowat] put his money where his mouth is,” he said today (January 12).

Allowing pharmacists to deal with minor ailments would “free up slots for doctors to deal with the more serious cases”, Mr Tobin explained. But “we only have vague promises and pilots” to suggest this could become a reality in England, he pointed out.

“Mr Mowat, we’re hiding in plain sight to help solve the hospital crisis,” he added.

Pharmacy's role in the winter crisis

Mr Tobin warned. that “our health service is at breaking point” and it is about to get worse.

However, many of the conditions associated with poor health over the winter period can be managed through community pharmacy, he added.

“Whether by monitoring blood pressure levels, checking people are using their inhalers correctly or just acting as a first port of call for general questions about their medication, pharmacy teams are open for business – accessible and available without an appointment."

Mr Tobin advised the pharmacy minister to commission the national minor ailments service from community pharmacy, “before it’s too late to make a difference”.

In yesterday’s (January 11) parliamentary debate, Mr Mowat reiterated his commitment to employing more “clinical pharmacists” in GP surgeries as a way to bring the two professions together and help relieve the pressure on the over-stretched health service.

Last month, the Murray review into pharmacy clinical services said the government's commitment to have minor ailments schemes commissioned locally across England by April 2018 "clearly needs to happen sooner."

Are you commissioned to deliver a local minor ailments service?

Brian Austen, Senior Management

If you have 400 'Practice Pharmacists', rising to 2000 by 2020, they will already be providing a minor ailments service in addition to the GP consultations. GP recruitment is very difficult for Surgeries and therefore they have good reason to pay for these Pharmacists once the tapered subsidy runs out. I think NHS England see it as integrating Pharmacists into the primary care multi-disciplinary team, very good value for money and marginalising community pharmacy to dispensing and retail. NHS England has never embraced community pharmacy due to its very large commercial element with Boots and their business model being in the forefront of their mind. If community pharmacy was made up of independent pharmacist contractors they might be viewed more favourably.

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is a term that springs to mind.

Ari Butt, Community pharmacist

I totally agree with Cormac ! Actions speak louder than words ! 57 million GP appointments and up to 3.7 million A&E appointments are for minor ailments ! This is costing the NHS   more than £2 billion! The figures speak for themselves! 

Boom Shakalaka, Locum pharmacist

Health service is nowhere near breaking point and is a true survivor. The "breaking point" malarkey is media propaganda to speed up its privatisation...

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Scrap MURs and re-invest the money in a proper minor ailments service - would make everyone happy. Even me.

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

Agreed, but considerable thought would have to be put into its design so it did not suffer from the failings and abuse potential that was inherent with the MUR "service".

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist


Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Our locally commissioned Minor Ailments service is likely to be binned, in anticipation of the National service

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