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Ex-home secretary urges government to ‘grow’ Pharmacy First

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Ex-home secretary urges government to ‘grow’ Pharmacy First

The former home secretary Priti Patel told parliament this week that Pharmacy First is giving pharmacies “new business activities that importantly keep their footfall going” and insisted the government should be “empowering” them to “grow that provision” by adding to the seven conditions it covers.

Patel (pictured), the Conservative MP for Witham, said pharmacies are “at the heart of our communities” but insisted there was more they can do after the launch of Pharmacy First in January.

Thanking the government for “empowering pharmacies to deliver more services” which she said “was long overdue," Patel said: “(Pharmacy First) reportedly frees up something like an incredible 10 million GP appointments a year, while providing pharmacies with new business activities that importantly keep their footfall going.

“I urge the (government) to consider empowering pharmacies by giving them the opportunity to grow that provision around the wider conditions that they can treat.”

Patel also said pharmacies could use “their own buildings as social prescribing hubs which we should all collectively look to expand.”

She said if “localised health services,” including community pharmacy, which she suggested was producing “game-changing dialogue” within the government, was “knit” together with chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s “focus on improving efficiency in the NHS,” constituencies like hers would benefit.

“This could develop and lead to great outcomes for Witham town,” she said. The health minister Andrew Stephenson said the government was supporting community pharmacy to the tune of more than £2.6 billion every year.

“Community pharmacy is delivering healthcare, which makes an extremely valuable contribution to patients’ lives,” he said.

“To go further, we are now investing up to £645 million across this financial year and the next in Pharmacy First, which will allow for more blood pressure checks and more contraception consultations in pharmacy.”

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