Justin Madders – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Justin Madders on 2016-10-10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the likely effect of proposed changes to pharmacy funding on the provision of supplementary hours beyond the core NHS contract.

David Mowat

The Government’s proposals for community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond, on which we have consulted, are being considered against the public sector equality duty, the family test and the relevant duties of my Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health, under the National Health Service Act 2006.

Our assessments include consideration of the potential impacts on the adequate provision of NHS pharmaceutical services, including the supply of medicines, access to NHS pharmaceutical services, supplementary hours, non-commissioned services, individuals with protected characteristics, impacts on other NHS services, health inequalities, individuals with restricted mobility and access to healthcare for deprived communities.

An impact assessment will be completed to inform final decisions and published in due course.

Our proposals are about improving services for patients and the public and securing efficiencies and savings. We believe these efficiencies can be made within community pharmacy without compromising the quality of services or public access to them.

Our aim is to ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive. We are consulting on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared with others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.

We want a clinically focussed community pharmacy service that is better integrated with primary care and public health in line with the Five Year Forward View. This will help relieve the pressure on general practitioners and accident and emergency departments, ensure better use of medicines and better patient outcomes, and contribute to delivering seven day health and care services.

The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, Dr Keith Ridge has commissioned an independent review of community pharmacy clinical services. The review is being led by Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund. The final recommendations will be considered as part of the development of clinical and cost effective patient care by pharmacists and their teams.

NHS England is also setting up a Pharmacy Integration Fund to support the development of clinical pharmacy practice in a wider range of primary care settings, resulting in a more integrated and effective NHS primary care patient pathway.

The rollout of the additional 1,500 clinical pharmacists announced by NHS England will help to ease current pressures in general practice by working with patients who have long term conditions and others with multiple medications. Having a pharmacist on site will mean that patients who receive care from their general practice will be able to benefit from the expertise in medicines that these pharmacists provide.