NPA congratulates campaigners as DH announcement is delayed

22 Jul 2016

NPA chairman Ian Strachan today congratulated campaigners against cuts to pharmacy services, as the initial deadlines for an announcement from Government passed with no official word.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt originally stated that DH aimed to make an announcement in early July, so that pharmacies would be fully informed of the changes to be implemented from October. Most observers believed that an official statement would need to be made at the latest 21 July, before Parliament rose for its summer recess.

Ian Strachan said:

“We still don’t know for sure what may happen, whether in October or further into the future.

“What we can say for certain is that ministers and officials have been forced to think longer and harder about their plans as a result of the determined campaigning efforts of NPA members and many others in the sector, and patients too.

“It is too early to celebrate. But it’s not too early to thank and congratulate the people who have fought so hard up to this point to secure a sustainable future for local pharmacies. There is a long list of people to acknowledge – from pharmacists and pharmacy staff, to LPC executives, patient representatives, pharmacy students, MPs, councillors and many others.

“I am of course especially proud of the central role the NPA has played in mobilising the sector and other supporters. We are living up to the promises we made to our members from day one. We said we would sweat and toil to protect independents and the patients they serve – and so we have. We said that the sector was capable of pushing back if we stay united in our resolve, disciplined, positive and passionate – and so it has proved up this point.

“It’s now eight months since the Department of Health embarked on this damaging experiment and it is good that recklessness has been replaced by caution, for now. We now want to see fresh thinking and a willingness from Government to get around the table with community pharmacists and patients to map out a better plan. With a new Prime Minister and a new Pharmacy Minister, the opportunity is there to put the past seven months behind us and start again, from sound, patient focused principles.”

“No news is not necessarily good news and we can’t be complacent. That is why the NPA is today launching a new online tool to help pharmacists and others re-engage with their constituency MPs during the long summer recess. The ‘Email Your MP’ tool makes it easy to communicate with your MP by email and social media, and is available via the website.”