Pharmacy bodies have reacted to today’s general election result and are calling for Boris Johnson’s Government to back the sector.
This morning (13 December), it was announced that the Conservative Party has won a landslide majority in the 2019 General Election and will form the next Government under re-elected prime minster Boris Johnson.
Both health secretary Matt Hancock and pharmacy minister Jo Churchill retained their seats as MPs alongside ‘a number of key existing community pharmacy supporters’, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).
However, shadow community health minister responsible for pharmacy and ‘long-time advocate for the sector’ Julie Cooper lost her seat in Burnley, the negotiator added.
Mr Johnson said that the NHS is his government’s ‘top priority’ and that his ‘one nation Conservative’ government will ‘massively increase’ investment in the NHS as he delivered a victory speech in central London this morning.
Pharmacy bodies responded to the news with calls for the Conservatives to make good on their promises to the NHS and with their own pledges to work with Mr Johnson’s new Government on issues such as funding, workforce and access to medicines.
RPS: ‘It’s crucial that the Government backs pharmacy’
Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) English board, Claire Anderson, said: ‘The election campaign saw a huge focus on the NHS and the new Government now needs to deliver on commitments around patient care, increased funding, and growing the health and care workforce.
‘This is a hugely important time for the profession, with both opportunities and challenges, and it’s crucial that the Government backs pharmacy to help deliver the ambitions of the NHS Long-Term Plan.’
The RPS will be looking for ‘more certainty on the UK’s ambition for a future relationship with Europe and the wider global community’ in key areas such as medicines, research and workforce, she added.
Ms Anderson reiterated the RPS’ call for all pharmacists to have access to NHS-funded mental health support services – which are now available to all doctors and dentists – in light of the membership body’s research into pharmacist burnout.
PSNC: We must ‘show how community pharmacy can be better utilised’
Responding to the result, PSNC chief Simon Dukes said: ‘Many tried to label this as the ‘Brexit election’ but concerns around the future of the NHS were also at the forefront of campaigning.
‘Our aim now must be to help show how community pharmacy can be better utilised to reduce the pressures elsewhere in the NHS.’
Mr Dukes congratulated both new and returning MPs and added that his team will ‘continue to work closely’ with the new Government to ‘develop the community pharmacy service’, building on the community pharmacy contract.
The PSNC will continue to promote ‘the pharmacy sector and all it has to offer’ to MPs and support local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) to do the same, a spokesperson for the negotiator added.
They said: ‘It is expected that the leadership of other parties may be subject to change but that won’t impact on PSNC’s plans to reach out to individual MPs to attempt to gain or reaffirm their support.’
Updated resources on engaging with MPs will be published in the new year, they added.
NPA: We will ‘ensure a consistent message reaches Ministers’ about funding
A spokesperson for the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said it will work with other pharmacy bodies to put forward a ‘consistent message’ about the need for further funding for community pharmacy.
They said: ‘Our job is to work with whoever is in power to shape policies that will support pharmacies and the patients they serve.
‘We do this together with other pharmacy bodies to ensure that a consistent message reaches Ministers and officials about the need for investment in our sector.’
They added: ‘The NPA will also engage with the Government about keeping costs down for small businesses and helping high streets to thrive, about which the Conservative manifesto makes a number of promises.’