Community pharmacy could play a ‘stronger role’ if it increases collaboration with other healthcare professionals, the Prime Minister has said.

In a letter to the sector, Theresa May said: ‘Through increased collaboration and partnership, we can develop a stronger role for community pharmacy, making sure we encourage more people to use local pharmacies to meet their health needs.’

In the letter, addressed to delegates at the Sigma conference in Oman, Muscat yesterday (17 February), Ms May added: ‘As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), we are striving to effectively utilise the skill set and reach of community pharmacy, and it is good to see the sector continuing to explore ways in which this can be made a reality.'

The LTP, published last month, sets out the Government’s vision for the health sector over the next ten years, saw £4.5bn set aside to develop primary care.

As part of the plans, a pilot allowing GP surgeries to refer patients directly to a community pharmacy will roll out later this year. The document also highlighted ambitions to overhaul the way pharmacists are reimbursed for dispensing medicines.

Ms May finished her letter by thanking community pharmacists.

She said: 'I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued hard work and dedication to ensuring that patients can access the medicines and advice they need.'