Layer 1

Shadow chancellor: Labour wants to bring pharmacies 'in-house'

John McDonnell was responding to a question from LBC journalist Iain Dale yesterday
John McDonnell was responding to a question from LBC journalist Iain Dale yesterday

The Labour party wants to bring pharmacies “in-house” if it wins the general election, the shadow chancellor has said.

Nationalising all NHS services would ensure “you are not wasting resources on profits that will go into private shareholders pockets”, John McDonnell said during an interview with LBC journalist Iain Dale yesterday (November 5).

The shadow chancellor made the comments during a discussion on the increasing involvement of the private sector in the NHS.

When asked whether this meant he wanted to nationalise all pharmacies, Mr McDonnell said the Labour party wants “to make sure that our services are in-house”.

“I believe pharmaceutical provision should be in-house, but at the same time, what we are trying to say to people [is] we’ll manage those contracts when we take over in government.

“When those contracts run out, we’ll protect the patients and we’ll bring them in-house so there’s public provision,” he added.

Public money must be spent on patients

Private contractors are being paid to “make profit” and that money is therefore “not being spent on patient care”, Mr McDonnell said.

“When it’s public money, which should be spent on patients, it shouldn’t be spent on profit,” he stressed.

The Labour party believes “insourcing is more effective” and beyond that, “you’re integrating the service into a democratic control overall”, Mr McDonnell added.

“Every penny that we pay for the NHS should be spent on patient care,” he stressed.

C+D has contacted the Labour party for more details.

Speaking at the Labour party annual conference in September, leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the party’s plans to create state-owned generics manufacturers to sell medicines to the NHS at more affordable prices.

The announcement was made after shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth had pledged to scrap prescription charges in England, a move welcomed by 55% of C+D readers who responded to a C+D poll last month.

Listen back to the LBC interview with the shadow chancellor.

Do you think pharmacies should be nationalised?

Jerrold Host, Primary care pharmacist

Has anybody worked in an "in-house" pharmacy?
Eg. In an NHS hospital pharmacy?
I've worked in half a dozen.
I have also worked in 1000 community pharmacies. All of their operations are slick and efficient.

I understand the concern about multiples abusing the system and then their profits sent overseas to add insult to injury, but consider the following points...

Point 1: At this moment in time the NHS is paying X to get the job done.
Sure, some of this is siphoned off as "profit" but at least the job gets done.
After renationalisation, once government inefficiencies are factored in it will cost 2X to have the same job carried out.

Point 2: it will cost more than the annual NHS budget to buy out all the pharmacy contracts, we're not even talking about GPs, dentists, optoms in primary care yet.

Point 3: let's say labour win and they decide to execute this brave plan, it would take several decades to bring it to fruition.

I actually like labour but I'm not getting worked up. This is just average spiel thats meant to sound good to impress an unsuspecting electorate.

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'I have also worked in 1000 community pharmacies. All of their operations are slick and efficient'

It would be impossible for you to have worked in 1000 pharmacies and ALL of them to have been 'slick' and 'efficient'. A bit of advice, if you want to make a partisan, ideological and self-interested comment, dont make it so blatantly obvious by prefacing it with such an obviously invented personal experience.


A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

What a stupid and naive idea. He has know idea how medicines are produced which is a WORLDWIDE buisness.


The NHS will be on it's knees when the manufacturer's start charging £50 for a pack of metformin 

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

Communist muppet


If they get elected the civil service will stop anything as dumb as this happening

Ebers Papyrus, Pharmaceutical Adviser

This and many labour governments ideologically fail to understand aspiration, competition and innovation. A BBC article this week stated: The US spend 2.5 times as much on medicine per head than the UK (OECD). NHS prices are used as a reference point for several other countries so they don’t overpay.

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Just to clear something up, the current contract isnt an example of a brutally competitive, dynamic and innovative free enterprise system. It is an example of government granted protectionism driven by rent seeking and phoney innovation. It is a crap setup and produces predictably crap results. There is a good chance that nationalising community pharmacy will also produce crap results. Therefore the choice is between the least crap option.

So dont go lumping community pharmacy in with the best examples of the free enteprise system, it isnt any such thing. If all you can say is that it is better than nationalisation, it shows poorly it performs. Compared to the genuinely innovative and competitive free markets, community pharmacy is an embarrassment.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""" community pharmacy is an embarrassment."""

If so then why are you still in this industry as an ADVISER?? Take your own adice and then you know what to do.

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

You cut that off the end of a sentence so to take away all the context. Embarrassing behaviour from a fellow adviser.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"""Compared to the genuinely innovative and competitive free markets, community pharmacy is an embarrassment."""

Ok then, full sentance. Pharmacy is not a FREE MARKET, it is innovative though. So what are you still doing in a field you don't like? What advice do you give to your clients? That, this is a rubbish market so don't bother??

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'Pharmacy is not a FREE MARKET, it is innovative though'

Compared to the genuinely innovative and competitive free markets, how has community pharmacy been innovative? You are on a hiding to nothing with this one.

Graham Jones, Community pharmacist

McDonnell has no comprehension as to how primary care is provided.  This ideological hard left agenda affects GPs, dentists and optoms as well as pharmacy - the backbone of primary care provision.  A wrecking ball to future investment any contractor may be considering.  Private business has long provided a multitude of succesful services for the NHS and our communities.  Drop the ideology - there is nothing wrong with working with private business to provide good value quality services.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

You say this as if the Tories are spot on at the moment. And remind me who's been in power the last few years....

Graham Jones, Community pharmacist

There are many things that could be better but this is threat on a different scale to the way primary care is provided not just to pharmacy but also GP services.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

As a contractor I cannot wait for this- no rent or rates to pay, no staff to pay, no drugs to purchase and wait 3 moths to get paid for! No gas, electricity or accountants to pay, no delivery driver to pay! My salary covered by the NHS and an NHS pension - bring it on!

Tired Manager, Community pharmacist

Might even have to "downsize" into a six bed detached with less than an acre of land

ABC DEF, Primary care pharmacist

your salary would probably be halved though if this goes through...

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

But then you would have Job Security, Easy Workstyle (likes of other Govt Dept.) Handsome Pension, Holidays, year on year increments based on grade rather than performance etc etc. And most important -- YOU CAN GO ON STRIKE for days or even months without losing your job or pay !!!

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

It looks like the Shadow Chancellor is planning to take us in to Dark (shadow) Ages.

My suggestion would be to first look in to the Govt departments like NHSE&I, DoH and clean all the fat cats, then think of nationalising other private contracts.

“When it’s public money, which should be spent on patients, it shouldn’t be spent on profit,”  -- This is one of the daft statements ever. As someone mentioned earlier, the MPs salaries are a major PROFIT sources that could be cut as well as any of the fat cat salaries for heading a Govt. Department. Just imagine how much of Public Money has been wasted in the last 4 years just on debates on Brexit that never happened and we had 3 elections (including the one on 12 Dec)


Female Tech, Pharmacy technician

Sign me up, TUPE'd over to NHS pay, conditions, sick pay! Bring it on

Naresh Chauhan, Community pharmacist

Blimey. Have Corbyn taken over from the Monster Raving Loony Party?

Tired Manager, Community pharmacist

Although unworkable in the real world I think this is a good idea - imagine how good a community pharmacy could be if the only focus was patient care

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Pharmacy always has been in a situation where the business has to be balanced with clinical care.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Is there any Govt. Organisation that works more than 40 hours, no lunch break, open weekends, delivers to people FREE and most important Takes all the Blame and says Sorry and gives Store Credit?

Just Imagining a Govt. Pharmacy gives me chills down the spine.

1. Pt: Where is my Prescrption? Govt.Phr: We will get back to you in 5 working days.

2. Pt: Where is my Naproxen/ Evorel/ any OOS item ? Govt.Phr: We will get back to you in 5 working years.

3. Pt: Can I have a word with the Pharmacist? Govt.Phr: Sorry the Pharmacist is busy in a meeting with the minister at the moment. Please come back some other time (Never)

Many more scenarios could occur ......... write on

Naresh Chauhan, Community pharmacist

Blimey. Have Corbyn taken over from the Monster Raving Loony Party?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""“When those contracts run out""

Is this chap for real?? Show me one Pharmacy contract that runs out !!!

These people should not be even allowed to run for Parliament, as they are fooling people during election campagning.

Let's just say Lab wins election with landslide victory (~ 600 seats !!!!)

Step By Step Guide:

1. Recall/ Buy back all Pharmacy contracts, which would be at an Inflated rate since no Seller or the agent would go down easily. This would mean at least £ 100 Billion (based on In 2018, 1.1 billion prescription items were dispensed in the community) Plus hospital items + Dispensing Doctors items. Then the premium added on top would roughly give us £ 150 billion.

2. Which pharmacies will then be closed and most important will the same staff continue?? Any redundancies, Pensions, Consultation fees, Legal fees etc etc add another £50 billion.

I think I will stop here. So, the new Lab Govt. is ready to spend around £200 billion to make sure all monies spent on pharmacies are kept in house???

C A, Community pharmacist

but it will be more efficient




Also just because you saying something will be more efficient doesn't make it true. 

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Because everything is great at the moment, so why change it. But don't worry Labour won't be elected, certain things behind the scenes have put paid to that. 

Hanbal Chaudry, Community pharmacist

Then you go and spoil it all by saying “I will take over your Pharmacy”. Loath the Tories and what they have done but this is crazy stuff. Ever notice you start leaning to the right as you get older? 

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

Whatever you may think of this idea is anyone surprised?

The largest pharmacy multiples are now foreign owned. Under-investment in the UK premises and staff combined with their aggressive tax avoidance measures to give increased dividends to overseas shareholders does not sit well with many especially when those profits are derived from the NHS budget.

Further, serious allegations in the press that certain multiples are “milking the NHS” by forcing employee pharmacists to perform services (MURs etc) purely for the revenues they generate will not have gone unnoticed. As will allegations that their wholesaling divisions have been fixing the generic drugs supply and pricing to increase profits.

The actions of the multiples have inevitably brought this policy on.

Adam Spencer, Community pharmacist

This is great,I don't think health should be profited on especially as the uk has the NHS.the best thing is that companies like boots,well,lloyds,rowland,and cohens will stop dictating the pharmacy market and pushing for stupid apprenticeship,just so that they can increase their profits and in the process ruin a whole profession. It will keep there grubby paws of the pharmacy profession.


Job of the week

Pharmacist Manager
Midlands, Cheshire & Dorset
Salary dependent upon experience