In light of a recent Government consultation on community pharmacies, I have received a number of letters and emails from fellow local residents about funding for pharmacies and the effect that the proposed changes will have on smaller pharmacies like Chris McKendrick’s Pharmacy here in Swindon, which I know and have visited in the past.
Community pharmacies are important community assets that play a key role in improving the health of local residents, and I want to see those pharmacies, upon which people depend, continue to thrive.
The Government wants to improve the system to deliver efficiency savings and ensure the model of community pharmacy reflects patient and public expectations as well as developments in technology. There has been a recent successful trial of integrating pharmacies into GP surgeries and NHS England is looking extend this.
In some parts of England there are more pharmacies than are necessary to maintain good access. NHS England is taking three months to work with pharmacists and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) to get this right and ensure a balance whereby patients benefit from the best service while pharmacy is placed on a sustainable level.
The Government will also seek views on updating legislation to allow independent pharmacies to benefit from remote dispensing processes which facilitate more use of automation and increase efficient dispensing processes. This will enable pharmacists to spend more time delivering clinical and public health services to patients.
The Department of Health is entering detailed discussions with the PSNC on the 2016/17 funding settlement to support community pharmacy. I have written to the Department of Health to put forward the concerns of local residents and show my support for local pharmacies whilst these discussions take place, and I will continue to monitor this issue closely.
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