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Pharmacy First is welcome but must not burden pharmacies, says Haleon chief

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Pharmacy First is welcome but must not burden pharmacies, says Haleon chief

Haleon’s vice-president and general manager for Great Britain and Ireland Bas Vorsteveld has welcomed tomorrow’s launch of Pharmacy First as a “major milestone in how healthcare is delivered at community level in England” but insisted the service must not burden overworked pharmacy teams.

In a statement released today, Vorsteveld (pictured) said the service is “a timely response to the evolving healthcare needs of people across the country” but cautioned it needed to be “implemented in a way that does not add” detrimentally to the already huge workloads of stretched pharmacies.

Insisting Haleon is “committed to working with pharmacy professionals as they implement” the service, he said: “Pharmacy teams have always been instrumental in guiding patients through the maze of NHS services and OTC medicine options. With Pharmacy First, their role becomes even more central to the nation's health.

“As we move into this new phase, the wider healthcare industry must provide the necessary support to ensure that these changes are sustainable and beneficial. This year could be a turning point for pharmacies and, by extension, for the healthcare sector in the UK. It is a development that warrants cautious optimism and proactive support from all stakeholders involved.”

Vorsteveld said Pharmacy First aligned with Haleon’s “view of pharmacies as key players in promoting health inclusivity across the UK” and insisted “this is the right initiative at the right time.”

“At Haleon, we have always been an advocate for the crucial role that community pharmacies play. They are vital cogs in the healthcare machine, often the most accessible healthcare resource for many, especially in underprivileged and rural areas, offering access to crucial products and advice," he said. 

Citing figures last year from Community Pharmacy England’s pharmacy pressures survey that revealed 81 per cent of pharmacy staff are struggling to cope because of a significant rise in workload, Vorsteveld added: “It's essential that the Pharmacy First initiative is implemented in a way that does not add to this burden.”

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