Lords debate independent pharmacies, a week after the Commons

21 Jul 2020

The House of Lords heard on Monday from high profile peer Lord Grade, that many independent pharmacies are “hanging on by a thread” as a result of inadequate funding.

Lord Bethell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, accepted Lord Grade’s suggestion to meet a delegation of front line pharmacy heroes, saying the government is committed to a service-based future for the sector. “Pharmacies do have something very special and valuable because of their trusted role and we want very much want to see an enhanced role for pharmacies in the delivery of healthcare, ” he said.

They have played an absolutely pivotal role in communities with advice, medicines and support and I pay tribute to the hard work and commitment of our community pharmacies,” he said.

The Minister also reassured peers that the government is talking to the sector about what greater role community pharmacies can play in the administration of flu vaccines and a vaccine for COVID-19.

NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette said:

“It is good that both houses of parliament are pushing government for commitments about the future of pharmacies, and independent pharmacies in particular.  Lord Grade and other peers rightly insisted that the £370 million advanced funding for pharmacies in England is nowhere near an adequate solution to the current level of financial distress and leaves many pharmacies in peril.”

Other peers participating in Monday’s debate were: Baroness Pidding, Baroness Ritchie, Baroness Pitkeathley, Baroness Jolly, Baroness Wheeler, Baroness Gardner of Parkes and Baroness Barker.