The UK’s pharmacy sector has earned a reprieve from a planned cut to the sector which were to have seen its funding slashed by 6% next month.
Pharmacy Minister David Mowat told the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s annual conference that the cuts would be delayed, to “make sure that we are making the correct decision and that what we do is going to be right for you, right for the NHS and right for the public”.
The planned cuts have been widely condemned by pharmacy stakeholders in the UK, due to the expectation that up to 3000 of the country’s 12,000 pharmacies would be closed after the sector lost £170 million in funding.
The new Minister did not specify, however, when the next steps around the cut would be announced.
“We’ve seen the petition, and that’s frankly an accolade to the way you are regarded amongst communities,” he said in a televised address to delegates.
“There’s been a long consultation on the proposals and we’ve been considering the results of that consultation for some while.
He said that he is “very keen to work closely with the pharmacy profession,” and that there is “absolutely no question… you have a major contribution to make to the health service and primary care in particular.”
Sandra Gidley, Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, welcomed the Minister’s speech, saying: “I am heartened that a second look is being taken at the proposed community pharmacy cuts and that the Minister has recognised the strength of public feeling on the issue.
“We are pressing for the Minister to meet with RPS England ahead of any final announcements because as the professional leadership body for pharmacy we are in a unique position to promote the clinical role of the pharmacist, and that includes in community pharmacy.”