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Opinion: The good, the bad & the ugly


Opinion: The good, the bad & the ugly

By Pharmacy Magazine editor Richard Thomas

This month’s Pharmacy Magazine is like the famous spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Let’s start with the Good.

The OTC availability of the progestogen-only contraceptive pill marks a significant step forward in women’s reproductive health and is a great opportunity for pharmacy. This is all about increasing access, convenience and choice at a time when the swingeing cuts to public health budgets and Covid aftermath are making it more difficult than ever for women to get the contraception they need when they need it.

Yes, affordability may be a barrier to purchase for some and really the pill should be available free from pharmacies via a prescribing or national PGD route. However, if pharmacists get the consultation right without making it a Stasi-style interrogation, surely this is a win-win. There is plenty of learning content on our website and more about the reclassification in our latest issue.  

The Bad is the escalating crisis concerning temporary pharmacy closures. There is an awful lot of guff spouted about this but in our August issue we share a reasoned, contractor’s-eye view of the problem, which essentially is a potentially disastrous coming together of a range of complex workforce-related issues, some foreseeable, some not. There are no easy answers but our columnist suggests some immediate actions to prevent patient frustration rising still further and commissioners losing confidence in the sector altogether.

And the Ugly? Only one candidate here – the GPhC. After the fiasco over the March registration assessment, for the regulator to be caught so badly napping again is unforgivable. No proper contingency planning, no solutions, no idea. It is a disgraceful situation and one suspects the Professional Standards Authority will be taking a very close look indeed. What price a super-regulator now I wonder?

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