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CCA chief: Our members are ‘absolutely committed’ to Pharmacy First

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CCA chief: Our members are ‘absolutely committed’ to Pharmacy First

This story was originally published by Independent Community Pharmacist.

The chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association Malcolm Harrison has hit back at a claim by Mid and South Essex NHS Integrated Care System’s director of primary care William Guy that large pharmacy chains in his area are “strategically heading in a different direction” from Pharmacy First by insisting his members are “absolutely committed to its delivery and success.”

Harrison (pictured) told Independent Community Pharmacist that CCA members are “working tirelessly as they gear up to deliver” the service when it launches on January 31. Guy told an Essex County Council meeting this month that there has been “quite a significant shift in the way” the multiples’ “models operate” as January 31 approaches, although a spokesperson for the ICS later told ICP there has been “wide sign-up of Pharmacy First from all community pharmacies” in Basildon and Brentwood, mid-Essex, southeast Essex and Thurrock.

Defending his members, Harrison said: “We do not recognise the opinions shared by Mr Guy. Our members have long called for a Pharmacy First service in England and are absolutely committed to its delivery and success.

“I would be very interested to hear from Mr Guy about the specific details of any ‘shifts in operating models’ that he has seen which would lead him to believe that any of our members are not fully behind the new service. What I have seen from across our membership is businesses working tirelessly as they gear up to deliver pharmacy first.”

However, Harrison cautioned that although Pharmacy First “has been warmly welcomed by the sector and in particular by CCA members,” community pharmacies need more funding to “deliver other core NHS services, such as supplying medicines to NHS patients.”

“Of course, pharmacy closures are a concern with 1,000-plus net closures since 2015. It is critical to note that within this shocking statistic, pharmacies of all sizes and ownership structures are closing," he said. "We have warned for some time that the funding model in England is not fit to sustain the current network of pharmacies.”

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