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Mowat: I hope we can put the funding cuts 'behind us'

Mowat: I know the funding reforms have caused some concern

David Mowat hopes the sector can put the cuts behind it, he told the Sigma conference in Rio this week.

“Everyone will know that it’s been a challenging few months, and I do know the government [funding] reforms have caused some concern,” the pharmacy minister told delegates via a pre-recorded message on Monday (February 13).

“I very much hope that we can get that behind us and work together on what we all want to do, which is to produce a much more clinically-focused, services-orientated community pharmacy profession,” he added.

Mr Mowat's recording was played to delegates after a letter was read out from Prime Minister Theresa May, who claimed the cuts would make community pharmacy more “modern and efficient”.

In his own message, Mr Mowat said: “As we build a seven-day NHS – and frankly we don’t have enough GPs – there really is a massive opportunity for the pharmacy sector to step up and work with us, as we try to get integrated right across the primary care sector.”

Mr Mowat name-checked the Pharmacy Urgent Care pilot announced by the Department of Health last October, which will direct patients who call NHS 111 for urgent repeat medication to a community pharmacy, instead of an out-of-hours GP surgery.

The minister repeated the government’s belief that “something like 200,000” calls to NHS 111 will be directed on to a pharmacy “as that pilot gears up”.

He also reaffirmed his aim that the remaining half of England without locally commissioned minor ailments services should have put them in place by April 2018.

Whatever happened to the Murray review?

Mr Mowat said the ‘Murray review’ into pharmacy clinical services – published in December – is with England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge, who is going to “reply formally”.

“I do know [Dr Ridge] welcomed the review. There is a great deal in there which is very worthwhile.”

Mr Mowat singled out one quote from the review in particular, which he found “particularly fascinating”:

“Community pharmacists should be actively engaged to help explore and develop pathway approaches that integrate community pharmacists and their teams into primary care, and make best use of their skills in the identification and management of patients who will benefit most from their expertise.”

How are you coping with the cuts?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

For those of you who think the taxpayer will carry on acting as a charity for pharmacy contractors need to think again. There are pharmacists/contractors who refuse to accept that there is an oversupply of pharmacies and pharmacists, a reality check is sorely needed. The current situation, precipitated by years of poor leadership and inaction, first by the RPSGB and then the GPhC, are the culprits. The RPSGB should, instead of lobbying for 'independent regulation', lobby for control of entry, both as registrants into the profession, and oppose universities opening schools of pharmacy. The GPhC should have taken decisive action to remedy this, but chose not to (is it because the former 'regulatory' arm of the RPSGB moved across to the GPhC, and carried with them the same mentality ( as well as the same pension? )?)

As for those recently qualified pharmacists, I think all of you are justified to take legal action against the universities for mis-representing your earnings potential, and ask for your tuition fees back.

NIRMAL BAJARIA, Superintendent Pharmacist

He has no clue about the impact the cuts will have on some contractors. He simply delivers information passed on to him by his team of advisors. 

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

no problem, with easy access to ample supplies of K-Y we'll barely notice


Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Nobody has told him that Hounslow is stopping Minor Ailments after 13 years!

S RAHMAN, Community pharmacist

The whole thing is a Joke. They are pulling the carpet from under our feet and telling us to forget about it, Jokers...

The formula is designed to close more than 50 % of current England pharmacies. They know that patients will get used to waiting hours at the pharmacy. Just look at what's happening at the hospital outpatient pharmacies. Many are operated by well-liked multiples, average waiting times are 40mins or longer.

The end of pharmacy as we have known is here. There are no alternatives. Once NHS is fully privatised it will be an insurance job and may be pharmacies will be profitable once again.

Dave Downham, Manager

"I hope we can put the funding cuts 'behind us" - course we can, old fruit, no harm done. Bygones be bygones etc. What with the Pharmacy Urgent Care pilot - say 200,000 at £14 each that's almost £3m out of the cuts of £113m, no reason why we can't all be best chums. In fact, why don't you ask old Ridgey to come over and we'll have some canapes and sherry.

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