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Labour MP vows to draw attention to pharmacy funding cuts

Kate Hoey MP: Contractors should "speak out" about the proposed cuts

Kate Hoey: Government has not looked at cost to health sector if pharmacy suffers


A Labour MP has vowed to unite politicians to fight against the pharmacy funding cuts.

Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall, told C+D she will “work together” with other MPs who receive “direct representations” from pharmacists in their constituencies to draw up a parliamentary motion on the cuts.

The cuts, announced by the Department of Health (DH) in December, will see the global sum for England cut by at least £170 million in October.

The motion could “draw ministers’ attention” to the plight of pharmacists, she said at a Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) meeting in parliament on Tuesday (January 12). 

The government has not looked at the “specific ongoing costs” of what will happen to the health service when pharmacists are not able to “work the way they do”, she stressed.

"Pharmacists must speak out"

Members of the health community must also “speak out” about the proposed cuts to make the public aware of the situation, Ms Hoey said.

Although the public “really trust” their local pharmacist, many do not realise how the sector will be affected by the cuts and “need to be educated to understand what is happening”, she said.

Ms Hoey also promised to work with pharmacists to help them deal with the most extreme aspects of the cuts. “Joined-up thinking” could save money, because “working together [with GPs] doesn’t have to cost anything”, she added.

Speaking at the same event, The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chair Ian Strachan said it is diffcult for contractors to be strategic with funding cuts on the horizon because they will "marginalise pharmacy". "The accessibility of community pharmacy is under threat," he said.


Have you contacted your local MP about the cuts?

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Er Ds, Superintendent

sami-you got no business sense what so ever. do you consider rates, rent, staff etc

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

if you don't like the funding, sell up,

Er Ds, Superintendent

agree with chris armstrong, get rid of these bafoons.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

SO if someone has a different opinion to yours they should be banned? Must be interesting in your pharmacy. Why not accept that people views and perspective will differ. If not then run away like that coward who wants people blocked.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

FAO the editor/moderator, it is becoming impossible to have any sensible or rational discussions on these forums due to the jealous, blinkered, belligerent, offensive and downright untrue posts by the likes of Sami Khadeira, London Locum, S Morein and their like. I'm sure one of them also used to go by the name of Mesut Ozil. I am not sure if any of them are even pharmacists or if they are just desperate wannabe contractors . They are certainly jealous to death of pharmacy contractors and spout all sorts of lies, which, if anyone outside the pharmacy world read and chose to believe, could show pharmacy in a really bad light. It is time these individuals were blocked from using these forums, so that we can go back to having sensible discussions, especially in these very difficult times for pharmacy. I for one will not be posting on the discussion boards again until these individuals are removed and I invite all posters to comment on whether they agree with me or not.

Suketu Patel, Community pharmacist

Agreed. Time for structured discussion not trolling.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

How's your little petition going to get people banned for simply having a different opinion.

Yuna Mason, Sales

Some of them are just trolls. You not posting is what they want. Wouldn't be surprised if 2 or more of them are the same person looking at how they write their posts.

Chris ., Community pharmacist

totally agree here, I was reading an old post earlier and that idiot mesut ozil came up with very similar comments that London Locum does

Chris ., Community pharmacist

How long in reality do we think it will be until we see hub and spoke so widespread? What would a realistic (non-London Locum view) be?

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

In order for hub and spoke to become widespread it would have to make financial sense to build the hubs in the first place. As long as fees are being cut, there is no incentive whatsoever to build expensive dispensing hubs.

Dave Downham, Manager

Economies of scale - to make it worthwhile, you need to have scale such that enough hub & spokable services can be performed centrally to produce savings to make it worthwhile. If you are just replicating your store, question is why bother? If you have hundreds of stores and no great need for excellent, personal service, then you can potentially have a prescription factory in a warehouse.

Chris ., Community pharmacist

You can't really see Boots closing down any local stores or anything though can you even if hub and spoke was widespread, also, a pharmacist would still be needed at each store for MURs, methadone, NMS, etc etc etc

Chris ., Community pharmacist

That is what I was thinking however have heard rumours that one of the biggies has started planning hubs for certain prescriptions. Forgive me for being a bit naive here but what are we thinking Remote Supervision is going to look like in reality?

Dilip Shah, Community pharmacist

Kate Hoey MP is perfectly right in her assessment of the pharmacy sector uniting to fight cuts ,as long term implication of reduced payment will damage the service provision and have a knock on effect of reduced staffing levels to make the sector viable.It seems that some pharmacists do not understand that a reduction of £15000 per year in a business means a reduction of 1 full time member to cover cost this still does not account to reduced tariff on cat M product payments.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

If they close, they close. Life will continue. Miners in the eighties had their entire industry decimated underneath their feet. It could even turn out to be a good thing as students may finally wake up and realise not worth studying pharmacy.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional


Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'Draw attention to' ? The cuts have happened, drawing attention now would be like slowing down to look at a car crash.

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

Every employee pharmacist is cannon fodder. If I could no longer work I would be replaced in an instant from the vast pool of cheap imported pharmacists. The simple truth is that we have no bargaining power. And meanwhile the various Mafias who own the chains fill their Swiss bank accounts. I really don't think there is any answer except to get out if you can and, unless you are terminally insane, not to study pharmacy.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

To be honest, the so called 'imported pharmacists' are not worth it. You do get what you pay for!

Yuna Mason, Sales

Here's one for the C and D editors. You're sitting on a survey that says 1 in 5 pharmacies might have to close because of the cuts. What have you done to get the story into the NATIONAL press as well as the specialist press? That will bring it to the attention of MPs. I look forward to reading your news each weekday, it's a great update on what's going on in pharmacy. But this time you have to think bigger as a press organisation and get this story out there!

Kristoffer Stewart, Pharmacist

Have you tried to get the attention of your local MP on this matter? Why do you think Pharmacy doesn't get into the national press?

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Because its a TOTAL LIE that pharmacies will close as a result of this. A TOTAL ABJECT LIE.

Yuna Mason, Sales

If you're not trolling, you need to open your eyes. By that I mean research more to understand the politics and the wider picture. Keith Ridge said 2 years ago that there were 3000 too many pharmacies and similar sentiments were present in the letter - too many pharmacies in some areas (in that he isn't wrong). Some businesses will become unsustainable as a result - and if not unsustainable, far less desirable. If not immediately, over time pharmacies will close as a result of these cuts. Maybe it isn't 1 in 5 - but that's not the point. The point is the feeling of frustration and despair in the profession and that the cuts will have a huge impact on a community pharmacy network which is already stretched.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Keith Ridge and his plummy voiced and chubby Manchester master are playing out the game from 20 years ago. They really do not get modern healthcare nor do they see the need for pharmacists in the community. The corrupting Manchester nexus still sings a tune that is obsolete and irrelevant whilst sitting their fat backside on comfy office chairs having NEVER done a decent stint in community pharmacy. Has Keith got any meaningful patient facing experience in community or hospital pharmacy ???

Yuna Mason, Sales

I've done more than that, and it's a complex answer (I know you know that given that you're a C & D editor and the nature of your question!). In a nutshell it's against the interests of cash-rich multiples to highlight the issues plaguing pharmacy and to claim they're not getting enough money, and they will find ways to avoid the cuts impacting the bottom line profits. Therefore its against the interests of Pharmacy Voice, the CCA, AIMp, the PSNC, the NPA (multiples pay for insurance in some cases) and the RPS (multiples promote membership). Each shouts, just loud enough that they appear to have done something but not so loud that it upsets the apple cart. The RPS wants to remain friendly with NHS England and Keith Ridge, who signed the letter of doom. All of this hamstrings the actions of the APPG. What are the C&D's political ties? What's stopping the C&D liaising with the national press to raise interest in all of this? And what's stopping the national press being interested?

Gursaran Matharu, Community pharmacist

Perhaps the recent events are a clarion call for community pharmacy to unite. It is rather disappointing and sad to read the comments, no wonder we are easy pickings for DH. We have to bring value to the interaction we have with patients and work in the wider NHS landscape. The MUR and NMS has to be evolved into a meaningful service which actually measures outcomes e.g. are your hypertensives keeping your BP under control and are your inhalers stabilising your asthma/COPD. How can we reduce waste within the system, it strikes me odd that the 6% cut (approx £170 million) is approximately the same as amount for avoidable waste (£150 million), a coded message from DoH? There are plenty of factors which are destablising the community pharmacy network, pharmacists should NOT be one of them! The example cited in the discussion (4 labels) does illustrate that we have over the years continuously improved and perfected the delivery aspect of the service but somehow forgot to add value to the process. I would suggest that rather than sling mud at each other, we use our collective grey matter to come up with a coherent plan of action. I guess the local forum that exists for community pharmacists is the LPC, so this is a call to arms.

Jacques Gholam, Community pharmacist

Of course they should Sami ! In fact we pharmacists should only be doing our jobs for the love of it. Perish the thought of being paid to do our jobs, it gratifies me that there are people in the DoH of your ilk and calibre. I won't waste your time or mine for that matter addressing any more of your pointilistic comments about certain scenarios but welcome you to visit me at my shop so taht you can see how I work and then consider what that work is worth to the public that I deal with. Happy New Year

Jacques Gholam, Community pharmacist

I meant nihilistic not pointilistic! Not even sure that is actually a word . Apologies

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

More than happy to see a paycut if this money was put back into front line services. To be honest, the practice allowance should be cut by 25% and the money given to GPs who are working flat out - they deserve more than the £75 per hour they currently earn.


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