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APPG chair urges Sunak to support community pharmacy


APPG chair urges Sunak to support community pharmacy

The All-Party Pharmacy Group chair Taiwo Owatemi has personally delivered a letter to Rishi Sunak at Downing Street urging him to put in place the recommendations of a report it published in January that highlighted how a better funded community pharmacy sector can reduce the pressure on the NHS.

In her letter, Ms Owatemi (pictured) pressed the prime minister and his ministers to “spearhead the actions needed for the country to benefit from the huge potential of local pharmacies.” She said the government should work with community pharmacy and APPG to “urgently explore” how pharmacies can help clear NHS backlogs, increase patients’ access to primary care and support the healthcare challenges facing the UK.

A report based on the findings of an APPG inquiry into the future of community pharmacy, called on Number 10 to immediately put in place a fully funded Pharmacy First service in England and urged the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England to “actively consider commissioning additional community pharmacy services that recognise and make better use of pharmacists’ clinical skills.”

It prompted the government to ensure current and newly commissioned services are “appropriately funded” to take the financial strain off pharmacies so they can carry on operating and regional commissioning of services retain “some degree of standardisation so patients are not subject to postcode lotteries of provision.”

Its other recommendations included an urgent evaluation of the current and long-term community pharmacy workforce by the DHSC and NHSE, ensuring the NHS produces a plan clearly outlining the commissioning of pharmacy services and making sure funding is there so all pharmacists can train as independent prescribers if they wish.

In her letter, signed by 48 MPs, Lords and Baronesses, Ms Owatemi reiterated the importance of a Pharmacy First service but warned community pharmacy was “facing significant workforce challenges and a funding crisis.” She said 670 pharmacies had closed since 2015.

Insisting it is “vital” pharmacies are included in long-term workforce plans and have “a key role” in integrated care systems’ decision-making processes, she said: “Without urgent action, including a review of the way pharmacies are funded, the country will fail to benefit from the potential of this vital sector.”





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