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Community pharmacy

Petition against community pharmacy cuts close to 13,000 signatures

The government has responded to an online petition protesting against the proposed cuts to England’s community pharmacy contract. By 26 January 2016, the petition had attracted 12,940 signatures*. 

The e-petition can be found on the official government’s petition website and calls on ministers to scrap the proposed 6% cut and urges them to support community pharmacy services which save the NHS money. 

Responding to the signatories, the government says that community pharmacy is “vital” to the NHS and could play a greater role. 

The statement also says the government is consulting on its plans to introduce a pharmacy integration fund which it claims will help to transform how the profession fits in with its vision for the NHS over the next five years. 

It goes on to reiterate the need for pharmacy to take its share of the £22bn NHS “efficiency savings” and that the cut to the contract can be achieved without damaging pharmacy services. And it highlights the need to modernise services with, for example, the expansion of ‘click-and-collect’ prescription services and the development of ‘hub-and-spoke’ automated dispensing. 

When an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures, the government issues a response. In this case, the statement comes just a week after community pharmacy national negotiators announced they were boycotting official talks over the proposed cuts until ministers give them more information. 

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee also voiced fears that even deeper cuts were coming in 2016–2017. 

If the e-petition – which remains open until 29 June 2016 – reaches 100,000 signatures the government is obliged to hold a debate about the issue in the House of Commons. 

*The number of signatures was correct at the time of publication.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20200561

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