Matthew Offord – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Matthew Offord on 2014-04-10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he has taken to increase public understanding of the services offered by independent pharmacies.

Norman Lamb

Pharmacy already plays a vital role in supporting the health of people in their local communities, providing high quality care and support, improving people’s health and reducing health inequalities. However, as we move to more integrated care, there is real potential for pharmacists and their teams to play an even greater role in the future, particularly in keeping people healthy, supporting those with long term conditions and helping make sure patients and the National Health Service get the best use from medicines.

NHS England’s public consultation, Improving care through community pharmacy – a call to action, which closed on 18 March, has provided an important opportunity to explore the contribution community pharmacists and their teams can make. This will inform a strategic framework for commissioning wider primary care services in the autumn. A copy of the consultation document is at:


In the meantime, NHS England’s The earlier, the better campaign, launched in January 2014, specifically sought to raise the profile of community pharmacy with the public, to increase the number of people accessing community pharmacy services when they have a minor ailment and reduce pressures on other parts of the NHS.

On 14 April, the Department and NHS England published Transforming Primary Care – Safe, proactive, personalised care for those who need it most. This sets out plans for more proactive, personalised and joined up care, part of which is harnessing the potential of pharmacists. This recognises the vital role that pharmacists have in optimising medicines use, helping to prevent avoidable hospital admissions and supporting people to manage their own care. A copy has been placed in the Library.