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Health secretary wants pharmacy to follow 'French model', he tells C+D

Mr Hancock told C+D pharmacies are "absolutely vital to community health"
Mr Hancock told C+D pharmacies are "absolutely vital to community health"

Health secretary Matt Hancock wants community pharmacy to move towards the “French model”, he has exclusively told C+D.

Mr Hancock – who replaced Jeremy Hunt as health secretary in July – made the comments to C+D following a fringe event at the Conservative party conference yesterday (October 2), where he said he wants to focus on "prevention rather than cure".

“Pharmacy is incredibly important in the whole prevention agenda,” he told C+D.

“I want to move towards the French model for pharmacies, where they do more, and I think [pharmacies] are absolutely vital to community health.”

C+D has asked the Department of Health and Social Care to expand on what Mr Hancock’s vision for a “French model” would involve.

He also told C+D: “I didn’t have enough time on the platform, because if I had one more minute I would have spent one more minute talking about the importance of pharmacies.”

As much of £20bn as possible to go on prevention

Speaking to The Times’ Matt Chorley during a podcast recording at the conference, Mr Hancock said he wants to spend “as much as possible” of the £20 billion-a-year extra funding for the NHS – announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in June – on prevention.

“There will be more support needed to stabilise the hospital sector, but ultimately I want to get as much as possible out into prevention – and that’s GPs, pharmacies [and] out into the community services and health services.”

“Care always has to be available face-to-face”

The health secretary spoke to Mr Chorley following his speech to delegates at the party conference, in which he called for “more treatment closer to home” and cemented his plans for “bringing new technology across the health and care system”.

“We should be using technology to make lives easier for people, for patients, and also to reduce the burdens and the pressures on the professionals so that they can spend more time with people who need it.”

However, “care always has to be available face-to-face, human-to human”, he added.

What do you make of Mr Hancock's comments?

Hemant Patel, Community pharmacist

French toast! Read the comment carefully. Pharmacies and community services. What could pharmacy do with community services? What is happening with community services? Drop of oil goes to the squicky door!

Dave Downham, Manager

Have you been on the Special Brew, old chap?

O J, Community pharmacist

Let's try with the basic competency minister.
Dear Sir,
Do you know your way around PPD statement?

, Community pharmacist

Is it me or almost every pharmacy I have seem in europe seems to be empty or quiet and full of professional but aloof staff Selling high end products.

Do  the French copay?

I would love to do more indepth  valuable patient centred work if someone is prepared to pay.

David Stead, Hospital pharmacist

Is there room for all those pharmacies upstairs in Shepherd's Market?

"I only went up to get my mushrooms checked, officer".

C A, Community pharmacist

Is that the French model where Pharmacies close for lunch like civilised people? 

I'm in favour of that!


Or is that the Spanish model?

PRIMARY CARE PHARMACIST, Primary care pharmacist

French ones close for lunch too. 

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

the only french model this excuse for a minister probably knows is vanessa paradis... this is what happens when you have the blind leading the ignorant... could use choicer words but will probably get moderated 

Dave Downham, Manager


French model? No corporate ownership? Only pharmacists can own a pharmacy in France and ownership is restricted to one pharmacy, which is why there are no chains. No I didn't think so.

John Urwin, Community pharmacist

Have you considered the possibilty that the ownership component of the "French Model" is not the aspect of French pharmacy practice he was trying to get across and that you are being deliberately obtuse?

R A, Community pharmacist

You can't pick and choose a business model.

French pharmacists have a personal incentive to provide outstanding service because they own the business. British pharmacists are employed by multiples who are obsessed with profits and they seem to achieve this by squeezing their employees as NHS have left them no room to make any money.

Not too long ago Lloyds Pharmacy asked their staff to return their bonus back because "it got miscalculated". With an employer like that who is going to go for an extra mile? In the past, they did treat their staff very well. If pharmacists worked for 3 years they got a bonus of £1,000 in the mid-00s. Incentives like that made staff feel more appreciated and of course, it trickled onto patients. Currently most community pharmacists are firefighting. 

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

Of course they are.

Maybe they should look back at what happened with the beer orders that forced brewers to sell off their pubs. It did not result in a large number of inividualy owned fee houses, instead large Pub companies were formed which were so closely aligned to the brewers, nothing realy changed.

For us, moral is, dont think that if the ownership model is changed that it will be 1 pharmacist owning 1 contract only. Vertical intergration will still exist, just by the back door.

Andy Burrells, Community pharmacist

Of course, that would make it much easier for the government to pick us off one by one

R A, Community pharmacist

How can he suddenly expect a pharmacy model working like Amazon shift to become a French model operated by individual owners?

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

He went to France on his holidays this year, didn't he?

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

Excellent idea. I trust the minister, with his vast knowledge of pharmacy, is aware of the ownership model in France? Look forward to that being implemented first.

SydBashford Sold&Retired&DeRegistered, Community pharmacist

... but in reality will translate into same global sum, paid less to dispense and more for prevention services.... even more work for same income. More money for Gp’s though..... though I keep having to tell myself, “what do I care now”! :-)

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