Turning the tanker
While everybody had guessed that a decision on funding cuts had been delayed, it was reassuring to hear from the pharmacy minister himself that pharmacy income would not be cut next month. It would be more reassuring still to think that the government is reconsidering its views on community pharmacy.
Yet while David Mowat acknowledged the high public esteem in which pharmacy is held, and praised its Forward View, the fact that he failed to turn up in person to the professional bodyâ€™s annual conference suggests that the Department of Health simply has more important issues on its mind for now. Unfortunately, the government reshuffle and some recalcitrant behaviour from the doctors could be as much to blame for the delayed decision as all that excellent lobbying work. Mr Mowatâ€™s ten-minute video was more of a rushed holding statement than a genuine indication of a change of heart. Watch this space ...
Meanwhile, however, the chief pharmacists of England and Scotland did make it to Birmingham for the Royal Pharmaceutical Societyâ€™s annual conference. Speaking for England, Dr Keith Ridge said that, although pharmacy had begun to turn a corner in terms of becoming an NHS-integrated clinical service provider, it would take some time to turn the tanker around. Perhaps the same is true about the governmentâ€™s view of pharmacy.
Despite this uncertain environment, the independent sector and those who serve it continue to go from strength to strength. Congratulations to the regional winners of the RPS â€˜I Love My Pharmacistâ€™ competition, and to Sigma, national champion in the European Business Awards.