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Community pharmacy and the general election


Community pharmacy and the general election

Community pharmacy is referred to in all three of the party manifestos released this week. A new Conservative government would ensure a stronger role for community pharmacy in keeping people healthy, Labour would reverse England’s pharmacy funding cuts and the Liberal Democrats would act to ensure that patients have good access to pharmacy services.

The Conservatives Manifesto

The Conservative Party manifesto ‘Forward together’ promises a stronger Britain, approached by getting to grips with “the great challenges of our time”, which will require “discipline and focus, effort and hard work” says Prime Minister Theresa May.

An enhanced role for community pharmacy is outlined. “We shall support more integrated working, including ensuring community pharmacies can play a stronger role to keep people healthy outside hospital within the wider health system.”

Improving the NHS is mentioned within one of the ‘five great challenges’ for the country. The party pledges to increase NHS funding, and focus on improving NHS premises and technology. A new GP contract will help develop wider primary care services.

Other health and social care proposals include:

  • New plans for funding elderly care
  • Empowering patients to access and update their records to have a greater role in their care
  • Increase funding of UK-led medical and technical resource into the biggest threats to global health and prosperity.

The Labour Party Manifesto

Labour has pledged support for “healthcare for all”, celebrating the founding principles of the NHS and its constitution, and investing in healthcare “to give patients the modern, well-resourced services they need for the 21st century".

The party said it would halt the pharmacy cuts if elected. “We will increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need. And we will halt pharmacy cuts and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprives or remote communities.”

Other healthcare-related general election pledges from Labour include: 

  • A new model of community care
  • Action to address postcode lotteries of access to new drugs and treatments
  • Specialist care plans for people with long-term conditions
  • A new childhood obesity strategy
  • Establish a National Care Service for England, to improve social care.

The Liberal Democrats Manifesto

‘Save our NHS and care services’, says the Liberal Democrats manifesto. The plan for health includes:

  • Putting a penny in the pound on income tax to help fund health and social care
  • Improving waiting times for mental healthcare
  • Limiting the amount elderly people pay for social care.

In relation to pharmacy, the Liberal Democrats would look at maintaining service provision, saying they would, “Ensure that any changes to the way pharmacies are funded do not leave local areas without reasonable access to a community pharmacist”.

National support would be given to ‘struggling’ GP practices would be given, “to prevent mass closures”, although there is no mention of pharmacy funding in the manifesto.


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