I don’t suppose there will be many tears shed amongst pharmacists for David Mowat’s failure to get re-elected as MP for Warrington South. He was the pharmacy minister who oversaw the cuts to pharmacy remuneration in England. Mowat said at Sigma’s Rio conference in February that he hoped “we can get [the cuts] behind us and work together. . . to produce a much more clinically-focused, services-oriented community pharmacy profession in the future” (ICP, March, p4). For Mowat, the cuts have been well and truly put behind him because he is no longer on the scene.

From the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s point of view, the outcome of the General Election could be a good thing. The prospect of another independence referendum for Scotland has been kicked into the long grass. So, the RPS will not have to consider splitting along national lines. The possibility of pharmacists being impeded in some way as they move for work from one country to another is also not now on the cards – this could theoretically have been the result if an independent Scotland was in the EU while the rest of the UK was not.

I have been taken to task by a reader over my reference to the part that Archie Norman played in the commercial pressure that led to relaxation of the control of entry rules (ICP June, p11). I failed to point out that the package, which allowed, among other things, 100-hour pharmacies to circumvent the rules, did not extend to Wales. I gladly do so now. The point I was making was that the package had led to the burgeoning in pharmacy numbers in England that the government was seeking to address by cutting remuneration, which was doing nothing for relations between pharmacy and government. I pointed out that the package had not been taken up in Scotland, where relations were better. Relations are better in Wales, too, probably for the same reason. Furthermore, the Welsh Assembly has recently, in the words of our correspondent (David Williams of Pentre) “given community pharmacy a vote of confi dence and invested in community pharmacy services”. David suggests there may be a Celtic gene that sees the value in community pharmacy. Having a bit of Celtic blood myself, who am I to disagree?

Our sister publication Pharmacy Magazine, reporting on the death after a short illness of Professor Peter Noyce, made special mention of his sense of humour. I can vouch for that. Many moons ago I shared a table with him at an Institute of Pharmacy Management dinner in Llandudno. After everyone was seated, the waiting staff moved the table numbers to a corner of the room, right alongside our table. We used these numbers to score the various top-table speeches, to the general amusement of the assembled company. I’m pretty sure this was Peter’s idea, though it could have been his great mate Eddie Fullerton (then a regional pharmaceutical offi cer and who was also on the table) who came up with the plan. In any event, Peter was a willing participant.

I read that some of the pharmacists who fi nd themselves in surgeries as a result of the latest Department of Health initiative are feeling under pressure. Doctors it seems might be asking too much of them. I might have missed something, but I don’t recall a job description for practice pharmacists. In the absence of one, the incumbents and their employers must be making things up as they go along. No wonder there are problems.

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