A nail-biting wait

Withering wonders what the future holds for community pharmacy

Brexit has introduced a great deal of uncertainty concerning the future of the of the British economy. Investments are being delayed and the markets are jittery.

Let’s be honest – we all like certainty. Being certain about something enables us to plan, to invest and to look to the future with confidence. 

So what should we make of the fact that Parliament has broken for its summer recess and the expected announcement regarding the government’s plans to cut funding for pharmacy in England by £170 million has not been made?

Could it be that the appointment of a new pharmacy minister means that the plans are on hold, or, better still, will be axed? Or maybe Theresa May’s visit to a pharmacy in her constituency during her leadership campaign showed we have a special place in her heart? (I wish!)

I have been heartened by the staggering 2.2 million people who signed the petition supporting us, and by numerous patient groups like NHS Alliance, the Alzheimer’s Society and Diabetes UK,   which, in no uncertain terms, have pointed out to Jeremy Hunt the “significant risk of negative consequences” for patients if the proposed cuts are actually implemented.

But I wonder whether Hunt will listen to them, or even cares. Surprisingly, (some might say miraculously), Mr Hunt kept his job in the Cabinet. Much as we might try to engage in friendly and constructive dialogue with the new pharmacy minister, I can’t shake off the feeling that any hope we might have that he will be in a position to change his predecessor’s policy is misplaced.

With Hunt remaining in post there is a frisson of uncertainty about the proposed funding cut, but not much else. I may be biting my nails, but I’m not holding my breath.

Withering is the pen name of a practising independent community pharmacist. His views are not necessarily those of ICP.

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