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PJ Online | Government sees pharmacy as a "necessary evil", says Steve Dunn

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7195 p580-581
27 April 2002

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Meetings and Conferences

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Government sees pharmacy as a "necessary evil", says Steve Dunn

Community pharmacists still need to prove to the Government the value that they add to health care, according to Steve Dunn, managing director, AAH Pharmaceuticals.

"I know from my own meetings with the Department of Health that it does not see the added-value that pharmacy brings," Mr Dunn told the meeting.

"Until pharmacy can bring some outcome-based evidence of the value it adds to patient management in the United Kingdom, the Government will continue to regard pharmacy as a necessary evil rather than an integrated part of the health care system."

Another problem identified by Mr Dunn was that of confused professional representation. "Too many bodies speak on behalf of pharmacy with too many conflicting voices. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society needs to represent pharmacists' interests. Pharmacy needs to speak with one voice. The Government listens to the doctors, it listens to the nurses, it listens to the manufacturers. They speak with one voice; so must pharmacy."

Other issues identified by Mr Dunn that the profession currently faces include continued growth in prescription numbers (up 33 per cent over 10 years with a 4 per cent reduction in income), an outmoded remuneration model, demands to prove professional competence and debate over restrictions on National Health Service contracts.

"To overcome these challenges we need to show that pharmacists can deliver effective patient and medicine management in the community and add value to the health care of patients," Mr Dunn concluded. "We need to do that by becoming professional experts at medicines management, recognising that at the moment there is no money in it. If we can produce the evidence that this is what pharmacy can do and this is the value that pharmacy can add then it is my belief that, among others, the Government will remunerate pharmacy for moving into the front-line of patient care in the community."

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