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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By Paul Mason, pharmacy contractor and Barnsley LPC chair.

The idea for a petition about the pharmacy cuts came from a Twitter discussion on Christmas Eve and it went live on December 29. Twitter and Facebook about the pharmacy cuts were used to spread the word as widely as we could, encouraging everyone to re-tweet and share. To date we have over 13,000 signatures, which means the Government has to respond.

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