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Theresa May calls for 'stronger role' for community pharmacy

Theresa May: We want to build upon the innovative success of community pharmacy
Theresa May: We want to build upon the innovative success of community pharmacy

Community pharmacy can play “stronger role” by increasing its collaborations with other parts of the NHS, the Prime Minister has said.

In a letter expressing her support for the Sigma conference in Muscat, Oman, this week, Theresa May said the government wants to “build upon the innovative success of community pharmacy, encouraging further collaboration and partnership with the NHS”.

The government is “striving to effectively utilise the skill set and reach of community pharmacy”, as laid out in NHS England's long-term plan, Ms May said.

In the plan – published last month – NHS England said it would work with community pharmacists, voluntary sector partners and GPs to test patients for “high-risk conditions”, such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol.

Ms May continued: “Through increased collaboration and partnership, we can develop a stronger role for community pharmacy, making sure we encourage more people to use local pharmacies.”

She also used her letter to thank community pharmacists for their “continued hard work and dedication, ensuring that patients can access the medicines and advice they need” and recognised the sector as a “vital part of the healthcare system”.

She praised the conference, organised by wholesalers Sigma, for providing “an excellent opportunity to highlight and celebrate the positive contributions and excellent services offered by the sector”.

The letter was read out to delegates by the event’s host, Pharmacists’ Defence Association director of public affairs Claire Ward, during the conference's opening session yesterday (February 17).

Read Ms May's letter in full here.

“A good thing”

Kiran Patel, a West Midlands contractor, said the Prime Minister’s recognition of the sector while she is “busy with Brexit” is a “good thing”.

However, he would like to see the sentiment “taken forward into some contractual negotiations”, and for pharmacists to be seen “more as solution providers”, he told C+D.

Follow @CandDThomas on Twitter to catch up with all the latest coverage from the Sigma conference in Muscat.

What do you make of Theresa May's comments?

Angela HOWARD, Pharmacy technician

What about support staff?....when I qualified as a Pharmacy Technician in 1989 my salary intially rocketed overnight. Now I get just over £1 an hour more than the minimum wage (ie newly appointed untrained counter staff)....let alone GPhC fees I am having to pay...I recently went for a job interview in an independent  (which i didn't get as I wanted more money than I currently get) and was asked why am still working in Pharmacy, which now makes me ask myself the same question!!!! I can earn more on the check outs in ALDI

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

yes must be nice to be flown to 'exotic locations' for free, i will always remember the chilling phone call from a multiple's head office to fax them the £1.50 parking ticket i claimed on my invoice , some bask in sun travel and glory , we are treat and spoken to like dirt 

Graham Turner, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

A stronger role, but with weaker funding? How does that work? Pharmacists and their families can't live on fresh air alone.

I am pretty certain of what an MP would say if they were asked to take on more work for less money. It would start with an "F", and end in "off".

Pharmacy is at breaking point, so in order to "increase" something, you will need to decrease something else. Or PAY FOR IT.

The fact that certain companies can pay the exorbitant costs to attend a conference in Muscat perfectly displays the disparities in this industry. Companies can spend thousands of pounds to send "delegates" to an exotic location, but pharmacists can't even get their petrol claims for meetings approved. I would love to see the expenses claims - no doubt that there are massages, cocktails, exquisite food and world-class hotels. Why is it that these "conferences" cannot be held in Walsall, Slough or Milton Keynes?

Let's see some financial commitments from Mrs May's government, then maybe community pharmacists will be able to surprise you with what they can do. Unfortunately, when I think about that, even if the government offered extra funding I am 100% certain that the pharmacists would get nothing because the greedy corporations would keep that money for themselves so the pharmacists would be high and dry once again. The CEO must urgently need that priceless art collection on his yacht, never mind all those understaffed branches which can't afford to take on another dispenser.

If things keep getting worse, the best candidates will be leaving pharmacy to work elsewhere, and I cannot blame them, there are plenty of other jobs out there for talented people with a master's degree. Ones where you are not treated with complete and utter contempt, but are respected for your input. Just imagine that.

Pharmacists in the UK are being exploited by companies which love money and base themselves off-shore to avoid paying what they owe. How such greedy companies are allowed to have a role in the UK's healthcare is beyond me, because "health" is never something that they "care" about - only pounds and pence.

ethyl bromide, Community pharmacist

Well said!

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