Burt calls for calm amid funding fears

Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt MP has urged community pharmacy contractors to recognise the opportunities presented by the proposed pharmacy reforms rather than focusing on potential threats (reports Charlotte Rixon).

During a visit to Copes Pharmacy in South London earlier this month, the minister told Pharmacy Magazine that he hoped pharmacists would “stay with the consultation process” for the contract changes outlined in the Department of Health and NHS England letter to PSNC in December, which include a funding cut of at least 6 per cent.

He said: “Until negotiations are complete, I understand that people are bound to feel a degree of uncertainty. However, I hope that pharmacists will be able to see [the proposals] as a continuation of the ideas first set out in [the Royal Pharmaceutical Society report] ‘Now or Never’ that will lead to them playing a bigger role than ever before.”

Speaking outside Copes Pharmacy, which is owned by RPS president Ash Soni, Mr Burt also reassured the profession that plans to integrate pharmacists into the wider primary care team would not undermine the strength of the community pharmacy network.

“It is absolutely essential for the country, the public and the healthcare community that we have a good pharmacy network on the high street to do the sorts of things we saw today [at Copes],” he said. “At the same time, getting more pharmacists into different settings is also part of the future.”

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