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Matt Hancock: New contract moves pharmacies towards a French model

Matt Hancock answered C+D's question during a fringe event hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies
Matt Hancock answered C+D's question during a fringe event hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies

The new funding contract moves England's pharmacies closer to the model used in France, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The service-focused, five-year contract for England – which comes into force today (October 1) – allows pharmacists to do “far more”, Mr Hancock said during a fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester yesterday (September 30).

“Pharmacists [are] highly trained, highly capable [and] closely in touch with their local communities. The new pharmacy contract is really important because pharmacists are going to be more like [the] French model,” he said.

It is “standard practice” to go to a pharmacist before seeing a GP for minor ailments in France, Mr Hancock explained.

The health secretary exclusively revealed his admiration of the French model to C+D last year. His department went on to explain that pharmacies on the other side of the channel offer a wider range of services and play a stronger role in their communities.

When Mr Hancock met his French counterpart Agnès Buzyn in May to discuss their pharmacy model further – which he also revealed exclusively to C+D – she informed him that her office had received “lots” of calls from British journalists keen to find out more about the model, Mr Hancock added yesterday.

Listen to C+D's podcast from June on the French pharmacy model – and why Mr Hancock is such a fan:

Delivering services with reduced funding

When asked by C+D how England's pharmacies can deliver the new service-based contract when funding has been frozen for five years, Mr Hancock said: “The existing envelope was based on a flat-cash agreement, but there is scope within it for lots more services.”

C+D told the health secretary that while many welcomed the new focus on providing services, pharmacy owners “feel like they just do not have the time or money” to deliver them.

Mr Hancock said: “If [pharmacies] do deliver more services, then they will get more in return.”

“I hope that we’ll see lots more services, as pharmacies are used more and more within the NHS family.

“I’m absolutely convinced that there is more to do, [but] I’m very excited about the progress with making the most of our community pharmacies right across the country,” he added.

15 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of Mr Hancock's comments?

Sham Iqbal, Community pharmacist

These politicians are trained in NOT answering the question.  No wonder the public is so disillusioned with them and does not trust them.   The issue is services cannot be offered without capacity.  Unfortunately the flat funding (reduced funding in essence) will not help with addressing this issue regardless of your aspiration of french, german or any other country's model that you choose to spend your weekends away in.     

Michael Mustoe, Community pharmacist

The Problem!
Absolute negativity from the Pharmacy community, as illustrated by your comments here
Yes, there are lots of problems and issues
But why not work with the Health Secretary, at least he has a positive view of Pharmacy, and can see a path into the future. That is a good start
Service provision is the only sensible way forward for the future of Pharmacy and the health of the NHS as a whole. We all need to use the tools we have to the fullest possible extent, and stop whining at every turn. Please!

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'The Problem! Absolute negativity from the Pharmacy community, as illustrated by your comments here.Yes, there are lots of problems and issues But why not work with the Health Secretary, at least he has a positive view of Pharmacy, and can see a path into the future. That is a good start'

Your post is of the style and content of somebody who would like to see their 'positivity' noticed by somebody who they know will be observing it.

Some points that you might like to consider:

1) Mr Hancock repeated the brief he was given that morning. He has no technical expertise, qualification or experience in what he talks. So it follows we are the complete opposite of the 'French model' and have been moving further away from it under this current government. What he said was a nonsense and contrary to all the facts. You are aware of the specifics of the French pharmacy contract, aren't you?

2) As NHS funding has increased, community pharmacy has been dismantled without any details of what will be left. How can you be positive about something that doesn't yet exist?

3) All good starts begin with honesty and clarity. So would you like to explain their complete absence?

I will look forward to a facts based answer, free of the doublespeak so commonly found in - politics. Decades of experience from experts in the field of community pharmacy will be here ready to correct any slips.

Watto 59, Community pharmacist

I presume you are not a contractor and/or I can only assume you have no historical recollection of previous Pharmacy/Health ministers few of whom have ever had a bad word to say about pharmacy and almost all have sung the praises of pharmacists and  how they are under utilised. It makes them look good politically but there is never any willingness to recognise the  need to properly fund whatever their latest dilettante idea  happens to be.

 

Harvey Northwood, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Who on earth is advising this muppet, or is it all his own work?

 

 

A B, Community pharmacist

The mentality of the public and other health professionals towards French pharmacies (and parapharmacies even) is completely different to here. Hancock wants to cherry pick bits what they do and apply them to here. He doesn't seem to realise that since 2005 target driven chains and script chasing pharmacies have ruined working environments and decreased wages. Like previous comments have eluded to, French pharmacies are the only source of most medication and can only be owned by pharmacists. The government want to promote things like hub and spoke (doesn't exist in France) and on the other hand implement some sort of cultural change towards the French model without changing ownership laws. They can't have it both ways.

Watto 59, Community pharmacist

Unless some credible opponent from PSNC or other professional representitive publicly challenges Hancock  he will go on spouting this rubbish and get away with it.

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

So it is standard practice to go to the pharmacist in France - fine but they (he) is saying that there are too many pharmacies and want some to close!  Where do the patients go when the pharmacies have disappeared?

 

Independent Dave, Community pharmacist

Abosolutely clueless! How can he sit there and smile so confidently. Whilst encouraging more services is the right idea, by completely ignoring the fact that money, time and staff is required to provide it all....let alone to have any chance of maintaining the current situation...he’s essentially going to kill Pharmacy and wreck lives! You can’t just keep pushing, pushing and pushing whilst taking away vital support. When it’s all said and done, I hope people remember his and all the other names involved

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Oooh la...la...

Chicken Little , Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

He's obsessed

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

When he can’t get his Nan’s MDS sorted by the ‘not so local internet pharmacy’, he will cry. 

David Wilkinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Does Mr Hancock know that pharmacies are the only place you can buy medicines in France, this includes paracetamol, ibuprofen and simple remedies. If this was his first move in bringing in ‘the French model’ it would be a massive boost to Pharmacy in England and patient safety.

 

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Hancock is a coxk

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"""It is “standard practice” to go to a pharmacist before seeing a GP for minor ailments in France, Mr Hancock explained."""

Is that what he is on about ""French Model"" ????

Cracking............ Is he not aware that for so many years that is what is happening? With a twist that when it comes to buying treatment suggested by the Pharmacists the public prefers to get it on prescription as they don't pay??

Wait till we see many Pharmacies moving to Frrance due to the 5 year contract.

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