Pharmacy Voice has reacted with anger after pharmacy minister David Mowat outlined plans for significant funding cuts to the community pharmacy budget from December, describing the Government's imposition of cuts as "incoherent, self-defeating and wholly unacceptable".
Speaking in Parliament today (20 October), Mr Mowat announced plans to reduce funding significantly over the next 18 months, which will have a direct impact on local pharmacies, their staff and patients.
The proposed funding package:
Today's announcement comes just a week after PSNC rejected the proposed package and following a national campaign to oppose the cuts backed by the NPA, Pharmacy Voice and other national trade bodies. This has seen countless questions raised in Parliament, three debates, opposition from health and community bodies and the largest healthcare petition in history.
Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, gave his initial reaction to the proposals today: “We have only just seen the Government’s response to the PSNC today but, on first inspection, it doesn’t appear that the Department of Health has been listening. We have spent the last 10 months explaining to them the value of community pharmacy, the pressure we take off other parts of the NHS and the money we save the Government by keeping patients out of GP surgeries and A&E.
“The public have made it clear to them that they expect their local pharmacies to expand their role in the community and MPs from every party have outlined how cuts will harm the interests of their constituents. Yet, despite this opposition, the Government appears hell-bent on pressing ahead with this incoherent, self-defeating and wholly unacceptable policy and have replaced previous warm words with increasingly aggressive rhetoric”.
He continued that despite the announcement, "Pharmacy Voice is determined to ensure the long-term sustainability of community pharmacy and vital patient care is not put at risk. We will now redouble our work to promote the positive vision set out in the Community Pharmacy Forward View and will work closely with national and local partners to demonstrate how implementing it can deliver savings and improve health across the country. At the same time, we will build on the enormous good-will we have generated within Parliament, amongst the public and with NHS and Local Government colleagues in support of an expanded role for pharmacy within primary care and public health.”
For details of the two-year funding package being imposed on pharmacy contractors in England, click here.