The Conservative party's election victory could mean a period of much-needed stability for the sector, pharmacy representatives have predicted.
The Conservatives defied pre-election polls to form a majority government of 331 seats last week (May 8), and Numark director of pharmacy services Mimi Lau said this was "good news" for pharmacy because it would mean “less organisational change” for the NHS.
“We are still reeling from the last major restructure [and] the abolition of primary care trusts. We need stability if we are to integrate pharmacy more thoroughly,” Ms Lau added.
Sibby Buckle, a Conservative borough candidate for Rushcliffe in last week's election and a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's (RPS) English Pharmacy Board, said the general election result had "taken away the uncertainty of the coalition”.
“There are MPs who we need to speak to and raise the profile of pharmacy,” Ms Buckle said. “It is about carrying on the good work we started.”
Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said the organisation would call upon the new government to be true to its word and “place pharmacy at the centre of the prevention agenda”.
“Throughout the election campaign many of the incoming MPs showed their support for our community pharmacy manifesto, including former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who visited Kaye’s [Chemist] in Cornwall. We will now look to [Mr Hunt] and his team to represent the best interests of community pharmacy over the next five years,” Mr Darracott added. The health secretary post in the new Cabinet had not been announced as C+D went to press.
"Business as usual"
Sandra Gidley, a locum pharmacist and former Liberal Democrat MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said the election result should mean it was "business as usual” for the sector. “It is good that we have contact with Conservative politicians – the [RPS's] English Pharmacy Board needs to build on those relationships and make sure their promises are delivered.”
"From a pharmacy perspective I'm cautiously optimistic. From a personal perspective I'm devastated," she said about the Liberal Democrat's loss of 49 seats.
NHS Alliance chair Michael Dixon said that political stability was "good news" for the NHS and it was “imperative” that the new government did not initiate unnecessary structural change.