By independent proprietor Graham Phillips.

Had there been any doubts about the deep antipathy Dr Keith Ridge, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer, appears to have towards community pharmacy, it was surely dispelled during last month’s CPO’s conference. He spoke for 20 minutes and only mentioned community pharmacy once (and not in a good way).

During his speech he went to great lengths to praise “clinical pharmacy practice” on a sector-by-sector basis, while omitting any mention of community pharmacy. But hey, I guess being 75 per cent of the profession, we are such a small minority interest group as to be insignificant.

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By Alexander Humphries.*

When the funding cuts were first announced, I’m sure that the Government and its civil servants were probably counting on the sector to grimly accept the situation and move on. Thank goodness our representatives have stood firm, even after the cuts have been implemented.

Having followed events in the High Court from afar, and been frankly disgusted by the totally derogatory comments from the Government chief lawyer about pharmacies selling sandwiches and the like, I can only think that this misguided view of our world might have flowed from the same pool of apparent antagonism that was on display at the recent chief pharmaceutical officer’s conference – from, erm, the chief pharmaceutical officer...

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By Richard Thomas, editor, Pharmacy Magazine.

If there were any small doubts remaining about what the high-ups in Government really think of community pharmacy, they were surely dispelled by revelations in the High Court last month, whatever the final ruling in the judicial reviews.

Inefficient, over-subsidised sandwich sellers seems to cover it – a sentiment so misleading, ill-informed and wide of the mark it seems wrong to dignify it with a comment. However, it is the clearest sign yet that, even with the benefit of enormous public support, pharmacy in England is still failing to gain the policy high ground where it matters.

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By Gareth Jones, NPA public affairs manager.

A dangerous policy idea circulating in parts of Government right now is that local pharmacies can be replaced by an Amazon-style medicines service.

The cuts to pharmacy funding in England are consistent with a plan to significantly reduce local provision and introduce a superficially cheaper medicines supply service based on centralised, automated dispensing hubs.

This is predicated on the flawed view that pharmacy is just a distribution mechanism for product, rather than a valuable health and social care asset at the heart of local communities.

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By Ross Ferguson.

We all know that the NHS is in dire straits and having to make tough decisions. But the fact that around 40 per cent of CCGs have now withdrawn funding for one of the few things that actually help people with an autoimmune disease with a prevalence of 1 per cent is a national scandal. Not only that, but what have they replaced it with? Absolutely nothing.

And worse, the NHS is now threatening to completely remove funding altogether.

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