Cormac’s view: pharmacy funding cuts

Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin shares his thoughts on another challenging day for pharmacy, in light of yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Health.

Whilst the DH has recognised that community pharmacy has a role to play, this does, however, feel like a cynical attempt by the government to divert attention away from the imminent swingeing cuts to our sector. The Community Pharmacy Forward View outlined our vision and although this announcement acknowledges the potential role pharmacists can play in alleviating the burden on our health service, it does not go nearly far enough.

“The NHS is about to hit crisis point as we head towards the winter months; queues at GP surgeries, a social care system on its knees and A & E departments woefully over stretched.  Community pharmacy is part of the solution to increasing capacity in other parts of the system, yet we cannot do so without adequate funding.  There is still uncertainty as we await the cuts announcement.

“Pilots, as we know, can come and go and don’t give pharmacists the assurance that these services will become a permanent feature or that sustainable funding will follow. We can’t change patient behaviour unless we commit to long term changes and locally-commissioned services do little to raise public awareness nationally.

“We know how much money community pharmacy currently saves the NHS—we can save it more.  But not if its very future is undermined. Pharmacists are accessible, clinically trained experts, passionate about the health and wellbeing of their patients.  But their genius needs to be released by government, not constrained by it.