Health Secretary predicts a ‘big shift’ towards community pharmacy in vaccine programmes

24 Jun 2021

Chief Executive of the National Pharmacy Association, Mark Lyonette, shared a platform with Health Secretary Matt Hancock at a Sigma Pharmaceuticals webinar on Wednesday 23 June.

 

During the event, Mr Hancock predicted a big role for community pharmacy in preventative care, including future flu and Covid vaccination programmes. He said he wants to talk to the NPA about “ideas to unleash the potential” of community pharmacy.

Mr Hancock said:

“I’m looking for a big shift in the vaccination programme towards delivery in pharmacy. I expect – as we do the booster programme and this winter’s flu – that we should move more and more of it to pharmacies.”

This was because pharmacies had proved themselves capable of taking on such activity and because he wants to see GPs return to their “core role of practising medicine”.

On the Health Bill and Integrated Care Systems, he said:

“We are taking a population health-based approach; pharmacy is central to making that work because you’re so often the first port of all. Our goal is to make sure there is much more focus on, and reward for, preventative action. Prevention is better than cure and community pharmacy is at the heart of that vision.”

Mark Lyonette praised the Health Secretary for his vision but highlighted the inconsistency with low levels of funding for the sector.

“We are a can-do sector, but how can we get excited, and mobilise to deliver, given this contradiction?” he asked.

The theme of the event was ‘Taking Pharmacy Forward – towards a new Health Bill’ and also featured former Pharmacy Minister Steve Brine MP and Dean Russell MP, a member of the Health and Social Care Committee. The webinar was hosted by Sigma founder Dr Bharat Shah.

If you missed the webinar you can watch it in full here