Jo Churchill has been officially named the new pharmacy minister, replacing South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy in the post following Boris Johnson’s ascension to prime minister last month.
The Bury St Edmunds MP was announced as a health minister along with Mid-Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries in July, following Mr Johnson’s first cabinet reshuffle as prime minster.
As well as pharmacy, her remit includes prevention, public health and primary care, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said today (15 August).
The negotiator stated that although Ms Churchill voted in favour of cuts to community pharmacy funding in 2016, she has otherwise been ‘broadly supportive’ of the sector in parliamentary debates.
Ms Churchill served as parliamentary private secretary to Jeremy Hunt from June 2017 to January 2018, when she was appointed assistant government whip – a position she held until 26 July.
Sector welcomes new pharmacy minister
PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said: ‘PSNC would like to congratulate and welcome the new minister to her role. We look forward to meeting her at the earliest opportunity and to continuing to work collaboratively with both her and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to ensure that community pharmacies can contribute fully to the delivery of the NHS Long-Term Plan.
‘There is much to do to put the recently announced five-year [English funding contract] into practice and we will ensure that Ms Churchill is fully briefed on both the challenges ahead for community pharmacies and the vital and valuable roles they play in their local communities.’
The chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England Claire Anderson said: ‘We will continue making the case that successfully delivering the NHS Long-Term Plan will now need investment in education and training to develop an adaptable and flexible workforce for the future.
‘With the NHS People Plan aiming to make the NHS “the best place to work”, we hope that she builds on her predecessors’ recognition of the vital importance of supporting the health and wellbeing of pharmacists so that they can continue to provide safe and effective care.’