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NPA chief urges Sunak and Truss to fulfil ‘pharmacy first’ promises


NPA chief urges Sunak and Truss to fulfil ‘pharmacy first’ promises

National Pharmacy Association chief executive Mark Lyonette has written to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to urge them to fulfil promises made by previous health secretaries Matt Hancock and Sajid Javid that the NHS will adopt a “pharmacy-first” approach if they become the next prime minister.

In his letter, Lyonette (pictured) called on Sunak and Truss to deliver three things; ensure pharmacies are the first port of call for prevention and treatment of common illnesses; accept a recent Health and Social Care Committee proposal to develop an integrated, funded workforce plan for pharmacy; and ensure community pharmacies are “properly, urgently and fairly” funded to prevent further closures.

“The sector is in its eighth year of real terms cuts and is in danger of irreversible decline without sustained new investment,” the NPA warned.

Lyonette wrote: "Community pharmacy staff have been among the heroes of the Covid-19 crisis. They stepped up to keep the NHS from collapse and saved many lives. We hope that one of you as our future prime minister will in turn stand with those heroes and the millions of patients they save."

Shortly after taking over as health secretary in June last year, Javid said he had asked his colleagues at the Department of Health and Social Care to look at introducing a “pharmacy first” national minor ailments scheme in England. He resigned this month.

His predecessor Matt Hancock also promoted a “pharmacy first” approach that saw the introduction of the community pharmacist consultation service which was designed to ensure people with minor illness who urgently needed medicines were referred to pharmacies.

However, pharmacy bodies have been critical of the GP CPCS for a lack of referrals to pharmacies from general practice and Dr Richard Vautrey, the former chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, described the service as “a complex mess” and insisted it needed to be reviewed.



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