The health and social care secretary has pledged to invest in community pharmacies, he has revealed.

Speaking at West Suffolk Hospital this morning (20 July), Matt Hancock, said that he is committed to investing in primary care and community pharmacies so ‘people do not need to go to hospital’.

He did not specify how much will be invested in the sector.

In his first speech as new health and social care secretary, after replacing Jeremy Hunt earlier this month, he said that he will set out three key priorities to support the long-term sustainability of the NHS: technology, workforce and prevention.

He also pointed out that he would like to see more training to pharmacists based in GP practices.

The news comes as the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed yesterday (19 July) a £15m increase in category M reimbursement prices.


‘A strategic role’


Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) English pharmacy board chair Sandra Gidley said that, with Mr Hancock focus on prescribing, ‘pharmacists must play a strategic role in shaping and delivering NHS plans for the future to ensure patients are able to get the most from their medicines.’

She continued: ‘We welcome the minister's commitment to investing in community pharmacy as a key part of primary care, to support prevention and keep people healthy and out of hospital.

‘We look forward to seeing further details and working with the DHSC and NHS England on what this will mean for pharmacists.

‘We have continued to call on the Government to make the most of the whole of the healthcare workforce and Britain’s 54,000 registered pharmacists in all care settings will be vital to delivering a sustainable NHS.’


‘Ideally placed’


Responding to Mr Hancock’s statement, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Simon Dukes said that pharmacies are ‘ideally placed to help people to stay healthy and avoid visits to hospital’

He added: ‘We are pleased to hear the new secretary of state acknowledging the need for investment in community pharmacies so that they can do more to help ease pressure on hospitals.

‘We look forward to working with Government to make this shared vision a reality for the benefit of patients and the NHS.’