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No more pro-pharmacy rhetoric: we need action

GP surgeries and accident and emergency departments are under siege. Barely a day goes past without the issue being highlighted in the nation’s media and discussed by politicians of all persuasions. Everyone, it seems, agrees that pharmacy is a significant part of the answer and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other pharmacy bodies have done a great job of making the case for pharmacy to play a significant role.

We have been waiting hopefully for an announcement from the Department of Health presaging the introduction of a nationally commissioned, pharmacy-led common ailments service which could save 57 million GP appointments and £1.1bn for the NHS.

But instead what do we get? Pharmacists are to be forced to police the highly inequitable NHS prescription charge which “might” save £150m but is another barrier to healthcare (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;294:4).

Meanwhile, it appears that the Department of Health has done a U-turn and will, after all, produce a response to NHS England’s PharmacyCall to Action. Let us hope that the pro-pharmacy rhetoric will now be translated into positive and affirmative action by commissioners. With the right support, pharmacy might, yet, savetheNHS.

Let us make 2015 “the year of the pharmacist”.

Graham Phillips

St Albans,

Hertfordshire 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067635

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