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By Richard Thomas, Pharmacy Magazine editor.

One of the consequences of the funding cut – 6 per cent now, probably more to come – is that it might cause pharmacies to refocus on the OTC side of their businesses in order to maximise much needed revenues. Most pharmacies have an approximately 90:10 split between their NHS and OTC turnover. Might this now change?

However, if the sector is to make a concerted effort to ‘own’ the self-care and wellness agenda, pharmacy teams will have to do a better job in terms of improving the quality and consistency of advice given when OTC medicines are sold. The sector has a mixed record here, if the various Which? reports of recent years are any indication.

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By Alexander Humphries.

When most children were writing their letters to Father Christmas, a boy called Keith furiously scribbled a wish list of his very own...

Keith didn't want a remote controlled drone or an adult mindfulness colouring book. What he wanted was something even more expensive – a radical, top-down shake-up of community pharmacy. But wait... weren’t we promised no more top-down reorganisations of the health service? Clearly pharmacy doesn’t count as ‘health’ – or even as primary care.

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By Raj Patel, NPA board member.

The Government’s muddled thinking on pharmacy means we are in a battle to keep strong the beating heart of pharmaceutical care in the community.

Earlier this month I made a presentation to the Westminster Health Forum in London about the pharmacy network in the city and throughout the country. I described the many services my own pharmacy and others provide. I talked about the ‘extra mile’ that local pharmacies often go to, to care for patients and to help people live independently in the community.

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By Richard Thomas, Pharmacy Magazine editor.

Petitions, spoof Twitter accounts, muttered threats of industrial action – it has been an anxious and fractious start to the year for contractors in England following the now infamous letter from NHS England and the Department of Health announcing a 6 per cent cut in pharmacy funding and January’s category M clawback.

It would appear that ministers are intent on using the blunt instrument of forcing businesses to go to the wall (alongside vague mention of what are unproven hub and spoke dispensing arrangements) in order to achieve “efficiencies” i.e. reducing the number of pharmacies. It seems a highly risky and ill-thought-through way of ensuring equitable access to pharmaceutical services without comprising quality or continuity.

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By Dr John McAnaw, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board.

Last year delivered some notable successes for the RPS in Scotland. We worked jointly with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to showcase Prescription for Excellence developments from health boards, while in August we held our first Scottish National Seminar, which explored the foundation programme and the RPS Faculty, mentoring and leadership, and shared best practice across a variety of workshops.

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