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Commons Health Committee recommends urgent reform to pharmacy funding  

The Commons Health and Care Select Committee have outlined recommendations to secure the future of pharmacy in the latest and final report from their recent pharmacy inquiry.
Commons Health and Care Select Committee

The report is published during the crucial period leading up to the General Election, in time to be shared with an incoming government. It advocates for urgent reform to pharmacy funding, as the sector ‘creaks’ under the strain of pressures related to medicines supply, a ‘broken’ contractual framework, and workforce shortages. 

The report highlights the evermore central role pharmacy plays in health and care as the UK recovers from the pandemic and orientates service delivery towards the community and primary care. It underscores that this can only be realised with sufficient support and investment, and follows with recommendations required to enable the sector to unlock its full potential. 

Recommendations in support of community pharmacies include: 

  • An overhaul of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework: closing the funding gap and reducing complexity 
  • Tackling of medicines shortages by introducing generic substitution, commissioning an independent review of the supply chain and reviewing SSPs 
  • Commitment to further promotion of Pharmacy First and offer free medications under the service for people on low incomes 
  • Publishing a long-term vision for the expansion of community pharmacy services to include the development of Pharmacy First and the expansion of support for people with long-term conditions 
  • Introduction of an Establishment Payment to support the development of consultation spaces for patients; and 
  • An integrated and fully funded workforce plan for pharmacy 

Public Policy Projects (PPP) gave written evidence to the inquiry last year and subsequently published the Driving true value from medicines and pharmacy report. The inquiry echoes PPP’s recommendations to reform the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, ensure clear career progression structures for pharmacists across all levels, and review the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme to prevent unnecessary depletion to the local community pharmacy workforce. 

Further, the committee referenced PPP’s call for a rotation system to allow pharmacy teams to benefit from portfolio career options, stating that “enabling pharmacists to work in a range of settings allows access to pharmacists with the right skills at the right time. Public Policy Projects suggested that a ‘rotation system’ for newly qualified pharmacists could expose them to different roles, settings and career opportunities which may reduce the numbers leaving the profession”. 

PPP aims to contribute and build upon support for the pharmacy sector during the transition of Government following the General Election. The first report in PPP’s 2024 Medicines and Pharmacy programme is to be published this month. 

For more information on PPP’s medicines and pharmacy policy programme, please write to samantha.semmeling@publicpolicyprojects.com.

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