NPA to tell Brine replacement urgent action needed

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chief executive Mark Lyonette has said his organisation will make clear to Steve Brine’s replacement at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that “the current situation in community pharmacy is unsustainable and needs urgent action.”

Brine resigned from the government last night along with two other rebel MPs, Richard Harrington and Alistair Burt, to support an amendment tabled by Sir Oliver Letwin to give MPs control of the parliamentary timetable and vote on alternative approaches to Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Brine’s resignation has left the community pharmacy sector wondering who will be given responsibility for overseeing the profession at the DHSC but Lyonette (pictured) stressed that whoever assumes the role, the NPA was keen to talk to them about issues affecting pharmacy teams in the UK.

Reaffirming the NPA’s desire for community pharmacy to be given a multi-year funding settlement, he said: “As pharmacy minister, Steve Brine showed a willingness to engage positively with our sector and we hope he will continue an active interest now he is on the backbenches.

“We will make the case to his successor that the current situation in community pharmacy is unsustainable and needs urgent attention - and that we want to work in partnership to make things better for pharmacists, patients and the NHS.

“A multi-year funding settlement would help underpin meaningful progress. We continue to build stronger relationships with officials and with the health secretary (Matt Hancock) who has agreed to attend the NPA conference in June.

“At the same time, our work to help independent pharmacies engage with the NHS at local level will intensify, as we recognise the growing importance of primary care networks in England’s healthcare commissioning infrastructure.”

PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said pharmacy’s negotiator would start building a relationship with Brine’s replacement as soon as an announcement is made.

Dukes also said he hoped the DHSC and NHS England would provide a “negotiating mandate” for its impending funding talks before Easter.  

“Given the extraordinary situation in parliament at the moment it is unclear when another minister might be appointed, but as soon as an announcement is made we will begin the urgent task of building a collaborative relationship with them,” he said.

“I will also today contact the secretary of state for health and social care (Hancock) to restate our ambition to work together collaboratively and to stress the need to take forward our discussions on the future of community pharmacy without delay.

“We had been expecting a negotiating mandate from the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England before Easter and hope that this will still be the case.”

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