Following the hung parliament outcome of the general election and the news that the pharmacy minister, David Mowat, has lost his seat, the pharmacy sector has spoken out on how they feel about the news and what is next to come.
RPS: New Government offers pharmacy 'an opportunity'
Commenting on the result of the general election, Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board, said: 'While the general election result has left no political party with a majority, each of the main parties in England recognised the important role community pharmacists play in delivering healthcare in their manifestos.
'The start of a new parliament now offers the Government an opportunity to reset and rebuild its relationship with community pharmacy and we look forward to working with it and the other pharmacy organisations to ensure it delivers on these commitments.
'The next government must now start to work with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and community pharmacy sector to describe a positive future where the skills of pharmacists working in community are properly utilised.
'Pharmacists, wherever they work, support high quality patient care and help ensure the public get the best value from medicines. The RPS will not stop advocating for continued support of their increasingly important role. As we look ahead to the next parliament, RPS will continue championing pharmacists in all settings as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team across the NHS.'
PSNC: 'Promote the sector'
'Until a new Government is formed, Government and NHS business will continue as it had done during the election period. Parliament will first meet next week on 13 June,' a spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said.
'Pharmacy minister David Mowat has lost his seat as an MP, but until new ministers are appointed he will officially retain his responsibilities despite no longer being an MP.
'A number of key community pharmacy supporters in parliament from across all parties have held their seats, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to promote the sector and all that is has to offer.
'The campaign for community pharmacy over the past 18 months has been extremely strong, and PSNC was pleased to note the inclusion of pledges on community pharmacy in many of the manifestos. This support and the eventual formation of a new Government should give us a chance to rebuild constructive working relationships with ministers, in which we hope that the value and potential of community pharmacy will be fully recognised.
'As soon as the health ministerial team is known PSNC will be seeking to meet to develop policy to secure a strong and stable future for community pharmacy. PSNC will also continue to work closely with LPCs to build and make the most of Parliamentary support for community pharmacy.
PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said: 'Congratulations this morning must go to all our new and returning MPs, who we look forward to working with to realise their manifesto ambitions for community pharmacies. We are pleased to see that many MPs who we have been working very constructively with in the past 18 months have returned to parliament.
'This has been an extraordinary election for so many reasons and at this early stage it is impossible to say exactly what it will mean for community pharmacy. We expect the situation and ministerial responsibilities to become clearer over the weekend and into next week. PSNC will of course seek to begin discussions with health ministers at the earliest opportunity to develop policy to secure a strong future for community pharmacy.
'We do know that the hard work put in by community pharmacy teams, LPCs and the national organisations last year led to community pharmacy being specifically mentioned in many of the parties’ manifestos. This is a first, and something we can build on over the coming months to increase the support we have for the sector. PSNC’s aim will be to ensure that any new Government understands fully the value and potential of community pharmacy.'
NPA: Parties must hold fast to promises to support community pharmacy
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today called on the political parties to make good on their manifesto promises to support pharmacies and their patients, following the general election.
- The Conservative manifesto pledged to enhance the role of community pharmacy in relieving pressure on hospitals. It also committed the Conservatives to supporting pharmacies in rural areas.
- The Labour manifesto commits to halting pharmacy cuts and to review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities.
- The Liberal Democrats pledged to ensure that any changes to the way pharmacies are funded do not leave local areas without reasonable access to a community pharmacist.
NPA chairman, Ian Strachan, said: 'Whatever the composition of the new Government, they must make good on their promises in relation to local pharmacies. We look forward to working constructively with the new team in the Department of Health, to turn these promises into a reality that benefits patients across the country. This election was not just about Brexit, it was also about public services such as the NHS, of which your local pharmacy is the frontline.'
On David Mowat's loss of his seat, Strachan said: 'A change of pharmacy minister is yet another good reason for fresh thinking in government about pharmacy policy. New people and new relationships can lead to new ideas and new outcomes. This is certainly a change moment for pharmacy, coming on the back of a High Court verdict that made it clear things can’t go on as before.'