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CCA: Hunt must include pharmacy in workforce plan

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CCA: Hunt must include pharmacy in workforce plan

The Company Chemists’ Association has warned health secretary Jeremy Hunt not to leave pharmacists out of the “comprehensive” NHS workforce plan he has promised to publish next year.

Reacting to yesterday’s autumn statement by the chancellor in which he pledged to give the NHS an extra £6.6bn over the next two years, the CCA said improving the public’s access to primary care “will be impossible without investment” in community pharmacy.

“Additional funding to the NHS is welcome but the Government must set out their plans to improve primary care access without delay,” the organisation said, warning the community pharmacy network in England “is on the brink of collapse after a 25 per cent real terms decrease in funding spanning eight years".

The CCA also reminded Hunt, who was the longest-serving health secretary having held the post from 2012 to 2018, that pharmacies in England dispensed more than one billion NHS-prescribed medicines in 2021-22 and said it expected that to increase by 100 million items by 2025-26. The CCA also called for an urgent community pharmacy economic and workforce review.

“Rising patient demand for pharmacies can only be met through additional funding,” the CCA said. “Policymakers need to urgently recognise the difficulties pharmacy businesses of all sizes are facing in finding pharmacists. The sector desperately needs a comprehensive picture of the forecasted community pharmacist workforce.

Any plan must be supported by clear actions to reduce the demand on and increase the supply of pharmacy professionals.”

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