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NHS commissioning and funding

RPS calls on new government to deliver on campaign commitments to patients and healthcare workforce

The chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board has called on the new government to honour its election pledges, which saw a “huge focus on the NHS”.

RPS calls on new Government to deliver on campaign commitments to patients and healthcare workforce

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The Conservative Party was re-elected on 12 December 2019

Following its victory in the 2019 general election, the Conservative Party must now “deliver on commitments around patient care, increased funding, and growing the health and care workforce”, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.

Claire Anderson, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, noted that the election campaign had seen a “huge focus on the NHS” and said it was “crucial that the government backs pharmacy to help deliver the ambitions of the ‘NHS long-term plan’”.

The Society will, Anderson said, “be looking for more certainty on the UK’s ambition for a future relationship with Europe and wider global community, on key areas such as medicines, research and workforce”.

In the election, held on 12 December 2019, the Conservative Party was re-elected with its largest parliamentary majority since 1987.

The RPS also emphasised the need for the new government to support the wellbeing of pharmacists.

“With our survey showing the pressures pharmacists are facing, it’s also vital the government expands health and wellbeing support to all those providing NHS services,” Anderson added.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, and Jo Churchill, the pharmacy minister, retained their seats in Suffolk West and Bury St Edmunds, respectively.

In Coventry North West, pharmacist Taiwo Owatemi was elected as a Labour Party MP with a majority of 208 votes.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said it will work with new MPs to “promote the pharmacy sector and all that it has to offer”, and that any changes in party leadership will not impact on its plans to “reach out to individual MPs to attempt to gain or reaffirm their support”.

“Many tried to label this as the ‘Brexit election’ but concerns around the future of the NHS were also at the forefront of campaigning”, said Simon Dukes, chief executive of the PSNC.

“Our aim now must be to help show how community pharmacy can be better utilised to reduce the pressures elsewhere in the NHS. My team and I will continue to work closely with Mr Johnson’s new government to develop the community pharmacy service, building on the foundation set out in the five-year community pharmacy contractual framework”.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said that it’s job “is to work with whoever is in power to shape policies that will support pharmacies and the patients they serve. We do this together with other pharmacy bodies to ensure that a consistent message reaches ministers and officials about the need for investment in our sector”.

The NPA added that it plans to “engage with the government about keeping costs down for small businesses and helping high streets to thrive, about which the [Conservative Party] manifesto makes a number of promises”.

Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association, said in an open letter to Johnson that it was now time for the government “to turn their rhetoric about the NHS delivered on the campaign trail into decisive action”.

Richard Murray, chief executive of The King’s Fund, said that “sobering” NHS England hospital performance figures “show the urgent need for the new [Conservative Party] government to make good on its promises to focus on our ailing health and care services”.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said that Johnson “was elected with a manifesto which included strong commitments to improve the availability of new medicines to NHS patients, the uptake of vaccines, and to place life sciences at the centre of an innovation based economy”.

Johnson’s Brexit deal, Thompson added, “includes an important commitment to exploring close cooperation on medicine regulation. Achieving this will be important in prioritising patients and public health as well as the future of the UK life sciences sector.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207470

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