RPS "concerned" about impact cuts may have on patient care

The English Pharmacy Board (EPB) of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has responded to the Department of Health’s consultation on ‘Community Pharmacy in 2016/17 and Beyond’, expressing concerns about the impact the cut in funding will have on patient care.

Alongside these concerns the Society has made the case for investment in the profession, which would improve the public’s health and wellbeing.

Commenting on the Society’s response, Sandra Gidley, RPS English Pharmacy Board chair, said: “We are calling for assurance from the Government that the public’s health will not be affected by these changes. For us to have a constructive dialogue with the Government we need assurance that the overarching objective of these reforms centres on improving patient access to care, advice and medicines from pharmacists.”

“In all our meetings with the Government we have been unequivocal in our concerns about the impact on patient care that could result from these cuts. We have made it very clear that community pharmacists, as the most accessible healthcare providers on the High Street, must not be diminished. We are extremely concerned the cut has been imposed without an attempt to assess where and how services will be affected.

“We recognise the need to consider efficiencies across the NHS in order to ensure the best use of resources at this time of growing public demand. We have made a strong case for the development of pharmacy to deliver a greater range of clinical services in new roles that will fulfil the Government’s ambition to put pharmacists at the heart of the NHS, as well as creating efficiency savings across the broader NHS.

“Alongside this we are urging all pharmacists to seize the opportunities on offer and move forward to delivering the services the Government wants. With access to the right guidance, support and development, including access to patient care records, there is no reason why pharmacists shouldn’t be providing a greater range of clinical services.”

Society response

The RPS EPB has submitted a ten-point response to the Department of Health’s consultation with pharmacy stakeholders, which closed on February 12. Key points in the submission include:

  • Recognition that community pharmacy provides the public with the most accessible NHS service in the country, providing medicines, uniquely specialist medicines advice and cost-effective clinical interventions every day of the week and has a key role to play in improving the public’s health
  • A need for reassurance that the overarching objective of these reforms centres on improving patient access to care, advice and medicines from pharmacists
  • A call for all medicine supply models to meet patients’ needs, ensure medicine and medicine advice safety and involve pharmacists wherever patients are in contact with medicines
  • A call for clarity on whether there will be further cuts to the global sum in future years, or any fundamental changes to the contract itself. The RPS has expressed serious concerns that further cuts could destabilise the sector and lead to uncertainty and a lack of investment for the future.

We have made it very clear that community pharmacists must not be diminished

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