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Community pharmacies offer excellent value says PSNC

PSNC has questioned a statement made by Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament that there had been "a massive increase in pharmacy spending" over the past five years, and as a result a need to see "value for money in pharmacy".

"It is not accurate to say that there has been a massive increase in pharmacy spending over the past five years. The global sum distributed to community pharmacies has grown significantly slower than inflation and rising volumes of prescriptions. It has also grown slower than overall funding for the NHS. Community pharmacies provide excellent value for money to the NHS," said PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe.

PSNC has urged David Cameron to reconsider his plans for community pharmacy, and the National Pharmacy Association has written a letter asking that an "early opportunity" is taken to "correct on record the misinformation" given to Parliament.

The Prime Minister’s comments followed a question from Sue Hayman, Labour MP for Workington, who asked whether the Government would support independent pharmacies which she said were a vital lifeline for rural communities and helped keep high streets alive. 

Mr Cameron said: “As we make sure that as much of the NHS’s resources go to the front line – the doctors and the nurses and the operations and the A&E that we want to see carried out – we’ve got to see value for money in pharmacy while at the same time protecting the rural pharmacies.”

Responding to the comments, Sue Sharpe said: “The Prime Minister could have taken the opportunity to recognise the excellent, front-line work carried out every day in community pharmacies all over the country and to welcome PSNC’s recent counter-proposals for the pharmacy contract. It seems, however, that Mr Cameron was poorly briefed by his officials. Community pharmacies are at the front-line of healthcare. Community pharmacies are the front line that keep people out of A&E and GP surgeries."

NPA's chairman Ian Strachan wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister: "You have also apparently been misinformed about the level of investment in community pharmacy in recent years. I suspect that your comment about a massive increase in pharmacy spending actually refers to the medicines budget (the drugs bill) rather than the cost of providing pharmaceutical care in pharmacies. The medicines budget is indeed rising steeply, and community pharmacists have great potential to help the taxpayer get better value from that expenditure - by helping patients to get the best use of their medicines and reducing medicines waste."

PSNC continues to discuss its counter-proposals with the Department of Health and NHS England, said Ms Sharpe.




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