The Prime Minister’s comments followed a question from Sue Hayman, Labour MP for Workington, who asked whether the Government would support independent pharmacies which she said were a vital lifeline for rural communities and helped keep high streets alive.
Ms Hayman mentioned Allisons’ Chemists in Cockermouth, which she said had collected more than 2,000 signatures for the petition against the Government’s planned funding cuts.
Mr Cameron said the Government would support rural pharmacies but he added that there had been ‘a massive increase in pharmacy spending’ over the past five years. He said: “As we make sure that as much of the NHS’s resources go to the front line – the doctors and the nurses and the operations and the A&E that we want to see carried out – we’ve got to see value for money in pharmacy while at the same time protecting the rural pharmacies.”
Responding to the comments PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe said:
“The Prime Minister could have taken the opportunity to recognise the excellent, front-line work carried out every day in community pharmacies all over the country and to welcome PSNC’s recent counter-proposals for the pharmacy contract. It seems, however, that Mr Cameron was poorly briefed by his officials. Community pharmacies are at the front-line of healthcare. Community pharmacies are the front line that keep people out of A&E and GP surgeries.
It is not accurate to say that there has been a massive increase in pharmacy spending over the past five years. The global sum distributed to community pharmacies has grown significantly slower than inflation and rising volumes of prescriptions. It has also grown slower than overall funding for the NHS. Community pharmacies provide excellent value for money to the NHS.
PSNC continues to discuss its counter-proposals with the Department of Health and NHS England.”