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Pharmacists need to be 'better funded', MP tells BBC's Question Time

Anna Soubry: We made a big mistake when I was in government with changes to pharmacy
Anna Soubry: We made a big mistake when I was in government with changes to pharmacy

The government has “not done right” by pharmacists and the sector needs to be “much better funded” to relieve pressure on the NHS, Anna Soubry MP said on BBC’s Question Time.

The former Conservative MP – who stepped down in February to join the newly-formed Change UK party – used the BBC One programme last night (May 9) to say that “one of the big mistakes we made when I was in government” was implement changes “which have not done the right thing by pharmacists”.

This was “at a time when we should [have been] encouraging people to take more care of their own health, more responsibility, use the NHS more wisely and go into your pharmacy instead of going straight to your GP”, she added.

Responding to concerns about the current workforce strain on GPs, Ms Soubry said that while this may in part be due to low GP recruitment and working conditions, “some of this is about making sure our pharmacists are much better funded”.

Ms Soubry was critical of the 12% cut to pharmacy funding in England in 2016, warning ahead of the cuts that if pharmacies were to close, pressures on the NHS would increase.

Watch Ms Soubry talking about pharmacy at 53:42 on last night's episode of Question Time.

How is your pharmacy coping with the funding pressures?

Community Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Has this statement been lost in the C&D archive since 1990 ??? Pharmacy underfunded ...Tell us something new C& D  or better still campaign on Pharmacy's behalf for better remuneration ....Politics=false promises + corruption......nothing new there on a worldwide scale ....I'm totally unsurprised...Believe the promises when those promises ACTUALLY materialise....or simply vote them out....

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

How easy to admit the mistake now no longer in the government eh? Ms S was so critical at the time but still joined her Tory collegues in voting for the cuts. 

Peter Smith, Student

Exactly. I wonder what MPs would say if their funding was cut 12% in a year?

C A, Community pharmacist

It would never happen, they vote for their own pay rises, so it's much more likely to be a 12% raise.

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Politics is a shambles and needs a complete overhaul! Voting for their own pay rises + claiming expenses but then cutting services to the public. Absolute disgrace.

Peter Smith, Student

It just came to light in the last week or so that some MPs are claiming £9000 to help support their children, even when those children are aged 18 and over and away at university! It's fraud, and you and I would no doubt end up in prison for it.

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