By Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board.

The Society has made it clear in all discussions with Government that it thinks the 6 per cent cut in funding is shortsighted.

It is undoubtedly a difficult time for community pharmacy at the moment following the announcement of a 6 per cent cut in funding. I have real concern how this will affect staffing levels and opening hours of pharmacies, which will make it harder for pharmacists to care for patients and the public.

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By Alistair Murray, clinical lead, Green Light Pharmacy.

The Be Clear on Cancer ‘Blood in Pee’ campaign from Public Health England is back and I will be lending my support.

Despite improved levels of awareness of the key symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer (specifically, blood in urine), both cancers still account for 17,450 diagnoses and 7,600 deaths in England each year.

Late diagnosis is thought to be one of the contributing factors behind the poor survival outcomes for cancer in England. This variation exists not only between countries such as England and Sweden, but also from town to town in England.

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By Ian Strachan, NPA chairman.

We have a duty to be straight and open with our staff about the Government’s planned cuts and ‘efficiencies.’

What should you say to your staff about the Government’s plans for cuts and ‘efficiencies’? As a pharmacy owner, this is something I’ve been considering since the end of December. You don’t want to scare them, but equally I feel we all have a duty to be straight and open with them. After all, the Department of Health’s proposals could have very direct consequences for all of us, if not immediately then certainly in the long-term.

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By Paul Mayberry, Mayberry Pharmacy Group, South Wales. 

The Department of Health must stand up to the Treasury and tell it to leave community pharmacies alone – they are needed to save the NHS.

So what on Earth is happening in England? Jeremy Hunt has just upset all the junior doctors by imposing a new contract on them so there will probably be more strikes. There are not enough GPs to look after patients and some practices are closing. There are not enough nurses to perform the services expected of them and recruitment is failing, especially in deprived areas, while many are off work with stress.

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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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