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Matt Hancock: Government will ‘unleash’ pharmacy’s potential

Matt Hancock: Pharmacies will become the “first port-of-call” for patients with minor illnesses
Matt Hancock: Pharmacies will become the “first port-of-call” for patients with minor illnesses

The health secretary pledged to “unleash the potential” of pharmacies over the next five years, during his first post-election policy speech.

Pharmacies will become the “first port-of-call” for “many patients” with minor illnesses over the next five years, Mr Hancock said at a Policy Exchange event yesterday (December 18), his first speech since the Conservatives won a large majority last week.

“There’s so much more that can be done in pharmacies and that they are capable of doing”, the health secretary added.

Referring to his party’s manifesto promise (see below), Mr Hancock insisted the government would “deliver that extra 50 million appointments in general practice within the next five years, both by expanding the workforce, but also by harnessing the power of technology”.

In what was presumably a reference to the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service in England, Mr Hancock said there are more than 10,000 pharmacies “ready to receive referrals from other parts of the health service” – a number that will “continue to grow”.

Mr Hancock’s speech follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s post-election promise that the NHS will be a “top priority” for his government.

What did the Conservative party pledge in its manifesto?

The Conservatives failed to mention community pharmacy in their manifesto, only discussing recruiting GP pharmacists. When asked for clarification on their community pharmacy policy, a spokesperson told C+D: “We will be boosting the amounts going into community and primary care by £4.5 billion.”

Other healthcare highlights in the Conservative manifesto included a promise to recruit 6,000 more pharmacists, nurses and physiotherapists to work in GP surgeries by 2025, with the aim of delivering 50 million more GP appointments a year. It has not yet set out a breakdown of these roles.

The party also pledged to “make sure patients can benefit from digital booking and consultations offered by phone, Skype or online if they want them” and stressed that the price the NHS pays for medicines will “not be on the table” when negotiating trade deals, in response to criticism from Labour.

9 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of Mr Hancock's pledge?

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

So exciting. 

Mina Patel, Community pharmacist

Don't they realise we are already a fist port of call for patients with minor ailments? How many do we see every day and give advise without expecting any returns?

Praful Patel, Community pharmacist

Without establishment payments , there won't be any pharmacy left to become the 'first port of call' .True costs and resources need to be factored in, like any other service provider.

 

Richard MacLeavy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

What pharmacies will everyone be visiting I want to know? Another 5 years of real terms funding cuts will mean few pharmacies left for people to visit.

 

Z Rafiq, Community pharmacist

Unfortunately the only thing the government have unleashed on pharmacy is Matt Hancock. Another minister in a long line asking more for less. 

Arvind Sami, Locum pharmacist

Based on previous statements, expanding the workforce means it will stay the same... The extra appointments, why is that a good thing. You want more appointments??? People as a rule of thumb means people are sick... I mea if you want more sick people keep going in the same direction...

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

"Pharmacies will become the “first port-of-call” for “many patients” with minor illnesses over the next five years, Mr Hancock said at a Policy Exchange event yesterday (December 18), his first speech since the Conservatives won a large majority last week."

two things about that...

first of all, for many, we already are the first port of call, but we dont actually make much if anything from it,

and two, pushing more people into already time stressed ppharmacies without increasing resources is a recipe for safety problems.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

If I hear of one more politician saying how they want to 'maximise our potential' or some other hot-air b/s, I might just lose the plot!

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

The pharmacy version of football's managerial 'vote of confidence' - usually ends up with bad news for that manager

 

This is also the same matt hancock who travelled with Bojo to the U.S. to try equalise the FDA and MHRA standards (FDA considered lower) so the US can exploit UK generics market. 

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