PSNC responds to Cameron's claim cuts give 'value'

David Cameron: NHS resources must go to doctors and nurses on the "front line"

David Cameron used Prime Minister's Questions to highlight the "massive increase in pharmacy spending" over last five years


MP Sue Hayman has told C+D she is not satisfied by Mr Cameron's answer to her question about pharmacy funding cuts. She will write to the Prime Minister today (April 21), she said yesterday evening.

Prime Minister David Cameron has responded to a question on the planned cuts to pharmacy funding by stressing that the government wants "value for money".

There had been a “massive increase” in pharmacy spending over the last five years, Mr Cameron said in response to a question from Sue Hayman MP at Prime Minister’s Questions today (April 20).

Alongside its mission to get value for money, the government must "make sure that as much NHS resources go to the front line – the doctors and the nurses and the operations and the A&E", Mr Cameron said.

Ms Hayman, Labour MP for Workington, used her question to highlight a petition launched by Alison’s Chemist in Cockermouth in opposition to the planned 6% cut to funding in England. The petition has been signed by more than 2,000 people, she stressed.

Ms Hayman referred to the recent negative coverage of medicines use reviews (MURs) carried out by Boots staff, and asked: “Isn’t it time the Prime Minister and his government supported independent pharmacies like Alison’s, which are a vital lifeline for our community and help to keep our high streets alive?”

Mr Cameron added that there is “a specific scheme" to support rural pharmacies. 

Watch the Prime Minister's response here.

PSNC: Cameron “poorly briefed”

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) accused Mr Cameron of being “poorly briefed” on the sector by his officials.

PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe stressed that community pharmacists are the “front line” that keep patients from GP surgeries and A&E departments, and provide “excellent value for money”.

It is “not accurate” for the Prime Minister to suggest that there had been a large increase in pharmacy funding over the past five years, because the global sum has grown “significantly slower” than inflation and rising prescription costs, Ms Sharpe said yesterday (April 20).

Funding for the sector has grown at a slower pace than overall funding from the NHS, she stressed.

PSNC is continuing to discuss its counter proposals to 2016’s community pharmacy contract with the government and NHS England, Ms Sharpe added.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has written to the Prime Minister about his comments. Read the full letter here.


What do you make of Mr Cameron's comments?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


ATUL SHAH, Community pharmacist

I see Sami has now morphed into Elneny, wish pharmacy could change that quick

Chris ., Community pharmacist

Just about to say the same, identical vocab and style of wording...

Chemical Mistry, Editorial

It's not hard to figure he is a gooner fan and therefore assumes names of any player in this another useless buy in the name of mo elmemy. Also been mesut ozil and like Arsene wenger the PSNC never see anything nothing,win nothing and past their sell by date!

Pharmacy  needs to be like Leicester work as a team and win the premiership.


Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

An gooner it hurts to agree...... Let's just hope his next incarnation is artetea, and then he retires.

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

So he is saying what i said a few weeks ago and was abused by lots of so called contractors on chemist and druggist.....the NHS wants money on the front line....not ppl sticking labels on boxes...there are enough of them already.......any money saved in pharmacy should be ploughed back into A/E

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Pharmacy is the frontline! 1.6m visits a day. Close 3,000 pharmacies and patients will have to go elsewhere putting more strain on those that do survive. NPA has done some market research with a top firm, in a nationally representative sample they found 71% of patients would go to a more expensive NHS provider if their local pharmacy was more difficult to access. So in short, cutting pharmacy will lead to higher costs to the whole system.

While it is easy to dismiss what pharmacy does as 'sticking labels on boxes' the impact of procurement lead by contractors has deflated drug costs by £10bn since 2005. 

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

Its not rocket science to haggle the prices down!!, and its not the contractors deflating the prices down, it is simply supply and demand, once the protection of the patents expire.

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

Mike..............i am in the process of tendering for a  nhs CONTRACT and the consultant who is well known said the following  ...............NOOOOOOOO  pharmacy will close...All that will happen is contractors will have to work that little harder.....stop the how many have closed? 

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

It isn't scaremongering, the Minister is on record as saying he expects 1000-3000 to close.

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

So what the minister says is gospel???????? WHERE is the proof that one has closed let alone 3000,,,,LOL....Why are new applications being sent if things are soooooooooooooo bad?

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Familiar with the economic concept of the 'Greater Fool'? That's what drives irrational behaviour in this market, it is nothing to do with viability or reward.

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

Thts your a tax payer, if someone comes along as says i will provide a similair service without the allowance, the powers at be must give it thought.....!!! its called business........maybe a lost leader for you but not others...!!!!

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

mike............the facts are as follows....there are pharmacists willing to forgo the practice payment in return for a  nhs CONTRACT..........its called business.......

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

They are absolutely free to open an internet pharmacy right now. 

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

Open up the market and the NHS will save hundreds of  millions...........locums eyes will open when they see the money us contractors make............I mean its not rocket science is it? 905 work is dispensing......and ACTs have taken over that.....LOL

Luvjit Kandula, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Since when does the first port of call for many patients that reduce urgent care and gp work pressures not equate to front line staff.

Value for money ? Most pharmacies offering free delivery,  free mds and ooh support without payment, no workforce development funding, no subsidies and pay clawback with tax on top - I would like to see which other profession will offer better " value for money " 


Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

The contractors have had a 60% rise, and the locums and employee pharmacists have had a cut of 20% in real terms. Who's is the real loser in this??., Need to ask dodgy Dave to open the markets so that a few more of us can fill our coffers and stash it offshore 

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

GS has risen slower than inflation and rising prescription volumes. Slower than the rest of the NHS. Any increase was eaten by larger numbers of contracts so not the case that contractors are seeing a 60% increase. 

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional are 100% correct...i used to be a locum and became an owner 5 years ago............the locum rate was £25 per hr 15 years ago and its now hoovering close to £20..the sooner the market opens the better...this is the only way you will see value for money

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

You are spot on, the others need a reality check!! good on you M Elnemy

P M, Community pharmacist

sue dont be a plank up rates up utilities up wages up( min wage has just moved up again) your pay might not have gone up but are you adding any value or are you doing the same job as you were 10 years ago... do you bring in extra business ? . i bet the answer is no-  so dont comment with you sad sack story..

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Be careful now, you seem to be taking your frustations with 1/2 locums out on everybody. Hope DoH doesn't do similar with independents when they read aboout Boots and MURs

M Elnemy, Non healthcare professional

usually abuse from P M..dont worry.......the cuts will increase and the cowboys will leave the NHS market giving others opportunites.....i am glad i became an owner five years ago....wish othrs are given the same opportunities.....

Chris Mckendrick, Community pharmacist

Sue Hayman MP asking the wrong question. She should have asked: "Would the Prime Minister describe Allison's Chemist in Cockermouth as a rural pharmacy eligible for extra Government support, or as 1 of 3 in a cluster with in 10 minutes walk of at least 2 other pharmacies like 40% of all pharmacies in England and therefore one of the "more than are necessary"? By the way, when people walk through our front  doors for treatment or advice and preface their question with the phrase " I didn't want to bother the doctor..." or "I don't want to waste their time in A&E..." does that mean we're so far forward that we're not a FRONT-LINE service, but actually behind enemy lines? Let's hear it for the SAS of primary care "Who cares Wins"

Interested Person, Manager


Imran Wahid, Community pharmacist

The prime minister of our country has categorically taken us out of the front line with those comments. I dont expect to see any of our representative bodies making a noise about our value. Im sorry but you dont get more frontline than the counter of a community pharmacy and yes i believe we should close for just one day and then we will see who is front line. We would have a bigger impact than any junior doctor strike. But the truth is, neither pharmacists nor our bodies have the balls to put up a fight, and those that do will just be taken advantage of.

O J, Community pharmacist

"Dodgy Dave"

Nat Mitchell, Community pharmacist

We are an independent rural pharmacy, but we are not 'small' in terms of qualification for previous assistance schemes.  We do however face significant challenges in the current climate like many other pharmacies and small shops.  For the PM to not consider community pharmacy as 'front line' shows a total lack of understanding of what is going on in the country he is supposed to be running.  

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Now we know what this Government really thinks of community pharmacy. We are not front-line and we are not giving value for money. When I went to my GP practice this week was the first thing I saw on the front door was a notice directing patients to a list of community pharmacies.

We are not valued as much as doctors or nurses by Dodgy Dave so let's not pretend otherwise. The MUR debacle last week didn't help much to change that view.

Paul Samuels, Community pharmacist

In an ideal world we could challenge that assumption that we are not first line---closing for a day & seeing the resultant chaos--but that's a pipe dream.

However it emphasises what this government thinks of pharmacists in general!!


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