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I have now received a letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health, David Mowat MP about the future of community pharmacy.

I had attended the Minister’s statement in the Houses of Parliament on 20th October but I had also written to the Minister about this issue. There had been considerable local interest in the issue, especially in Downley, Lane End and Marlow Bottom.

The Minister has said that from 1st December, the Government will

  • Simplify the outdated payment structure for community pharmacy
  • Introduce a payment for quality so that, for the first time, we will be paying pharmacies for the quality of service they provide to the public
  • Relieve pressure on other parts of the NHS by embedding pharmacy into the urgent care pathway including for those who need urgent repeat prescriptions and treatment for urgent minor ailments and common conditions
  • Commit to national coverage of minor ailment services delivered through pharmacies by April 2018 through a new Pharmacy Integration Fund.

The Minister also highlights the new Pharmacy Access Scheme in areas where there are fewer pharmacies and higher health needs. The Marlow Bottom Pharmacy, the Lane End Pharmacy, the Downley Pharmacy, Landsdales Pharmacy at Penn Surgery, the Tesco Instore Pharmacy in Loudwater and the Rowlands Pharmacy in Kingswood all qualify for the scheme.

The Minister has assured me that

I believe the future for community pharmacy is bright. I am confident that my announcement marks the start of a longer term transformation for the sectors that will see better services for patients and an enhanced role for community pharmacy at the very heart of health and care provision.

I look forward to seeing the local pharmacies take advantage of the Pharmacy Access Scheme and hope and expect that the Government’s measures will save our treasured, isolated pharmacies.

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