One of the most disappointing moments seems to have occurred yesterday when it emerged that the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, wrote to Theresa May in August to suggest that local pharmacies should be closed and give way to a system of warehouse dispensing.
Philip Hammond apparently wrote on 11 August, to Teresa May advising her that the sector was inefficient, subsidised and needed reforming and he would like to see us follow other retail markets with a shift away from the traditional bricks-and-mortar business model towards scaled up, innovative supply solutions employing digital technology.
Aside from some of the factually incorrect statements the letter showed a lack of understanding of the pharmacy sector, it role in our communities and its vital roles in Primary Care.
The full letter can be read by clicking here.
Responding, NPA Chairman Ian Strachan said:
“This is a smoking gun. We have been warning for months that there are elements within Government that want to see the end of the community pharmacy network that has served so many patients so well for so long. Now the proof is there for all to see. The Treasury is clearly motivated by the notion that centralised medicines supply is cheaper, it is not in the slightest bit interested in the quality of patient care.
“From where I am standing – on the NHS front line – it looks like the funding cuts imposed on us this year are the first salvo in an effort to wipe local pharmacies off the map. But the NPA and the millions of people who have supported our campaign to save local pharmacies will not let that happen.”
“Philip Hammond’s letter contains financial miscalculations and misleads the Prime Minister. Above all it is remarkable for its total lack of appreciation that pharmacies do more than simply supply medicines. For many people they are a local lifeline.”
National Coverage of the proceedings
Chemist and Druggist
Twitter:- @ChemistDruggist and #CutsInCourt
P3 Pharmacy Magazine
NPA Summary of Proceedings