Why I'm cautious of Steve Brine's warm words on pharmacy funding

"Numark would like to see real traction this time"

John D'Arcy welcomes the pharmacy minister's statement of intent, but is waiting for the words to become action

I welcome the acknowledgement by Steve Brine – in response to C+D’s letter – of the vital services provided by community pharmacy, and his intention to give pharmacy a contract that is "fair, realistic", but above all "sustainable".

Numark also welcomes and agrees with his view that community pharmacy is at the frontline of primary care, and that across a network of community pharmacies across the whole of UK, accessible and immediate care is provided to millions of patients each day.

We believe that it is essential that pharmacy is promoted as the frontline of patient care and that a sustainable contract dovetails with those of other primary care providers, so that there is integration across the various different primary care disciplines.

Core to this should be the national commissioning of a minor ailments service, which would further help improve access and reduce the burden on GP surgeries and A&E. However, this has to be a national programme provided by all, rather than the current variability – associated with piecemeal delivery.

It is also vital that this contract builds on the establishment of quality payments, and does more to plug the gap in terms of the significant funding cuts our members have suffered in England.

However, our note of caution is that previous ministers have said similar things, but not carried them through.

Numark would like to see real traction this time. While we welcome the announcement by Mr Brine, we want to see what is in the new [funding] proposal and ensure we are fully involved in responding on behalf of our members.

John D'Arcy is managing director of pharmacy support services provider Numark

Read Mr Brine's full letter to C+D here, and C+D editor James Waldron's reaction here

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