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Headline

Sector-based prejudice against community pharmacy

Comment

Some of the evidence submitted during the judicial review made dreadful reading. It's not opinion based it's factual. Who persuaded the chancellor that on line pharmacy is a viable substitute for bricks and mortar face to face consultation? Who persuaded Simon Stevens that pharmacists do nothing more than "dole out drugs"? Why does Jeremy Hunt have such a low opinion of us? Stand in your pharmacy and just listen to what is going on. The phone queries, the patients coming in full of anxiety, the GPs, nurses support staff all requiring advice and the solving of problems. Some can be done on line but most can't. Why do senior politicians not understand that? Who is giving them the "evidence "? Why were delegates at a recent conference told that a prescribing qualification has no use in a community pharmacy despite roles identified in the (buried?) Murray review? With 500 ambulances being turned away from busy A&E departments this year, GP surgeries closing as partners can't wait to get out, how were the health secretary and chancellor persuaded that closing pharmacies and moving towards a "virtual" presence was a good idea? We have already had misleading figures about error rates in pharmacies as well as misleading figures about the salvation by automation using systems unavailable in the U.K. I mentor pharmacy students, I also have pre-reg students. I do my best to inspire and enthuse. We want motivated committed talented people in pharmacy. But so vicious and prolonged is the assault on community pharmacy I wonder why I waste my time. The future of pharmacists as autonomous professionals is not in a "Doctor's handmaiden" role in a surgery despite David Mowat thinking he's invented the wheel when announcing it at the PSNC conference. Practice pharmacists have been around for over 20 years and yes they've done excellent work. But the network of pharmacies is surely worth exploiting to help relieve the intolerable pressures on primary care? Community pharmacists have long talked about using their skills. We have taken on new skills. I personally was a first wave prescriber. Young pharmacists I encounter can't wait to show what they can do in their communities. But the language from the top of government is about "subsidy", "over provision" (despite a policy of only granting dispensing contracts when demonstrated to be necessary or desirable for nearly 20 years) and retailing. How has this come to pass? Why are we now treated as pariahs? How can the chancellor of the exchequer allay the prime minister's fears about tearing down the community pharmacy infrastructure in a dangerous experiment which has no evidence base to support it's design? Who told the Health secretary or the chancellor that community pharmacy is as valueless as they currently believe? It wasn't a junior clerk.

Posted date

11 APR 2017

Posted time

17:19

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