Mike Smith puts the world to rights…
Those who’ve read my column more than once will recall that I have pleaded for unity across our profession for many years. Sadly, this plea has fallen on deaf ears and unity seems further away than ever.
The power struggle in community pharmacy politics has gone on for far too long – for over 20 years in my experience. I remember from my days as a representative on the PSNC and the NPA boards that the tensions were already in place then. There are strong personalities driving these turf wars and they must stop or change. They are damaging our case and losing us credibility with the Department of Health. It is clear that I am not alone in this view.
Recently, former pharmacy minister Alistair Burt stated in his address to the Sigma conference that “pharmacy has got to be clear about who is speaking for it,” noting “I don’t have a view on what the position should be, but ministers need to know clearly who is speaking and who is in charge”.
To my mind, this statement could not make the position more clear. We are negotiating (although not at the moment) with a paymaster who does not know who speaks for us and is pretty miffed about two pending judicial reviews.
I guess we should take some optimism from healthcare lawyer David Reissner’s statement that, if successful, the judicial reviews could lead to a delay or even a reversal of the decision to impose the cuts. I have great respect for David, who I have known for many years, and I do hope that he is right.