Pharmacy Minister pledges support for an expanded pharmacy role and praises NPA for leading the way

25 Jun 2019

In her first formal address to pharmacists as Pharmacy Minister, Seema Kennedy said the government is committed to supporting an expansion of community pharmacy’s role and praised the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) for leading the way in prevention services.

Ms Kennedy was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, with responsibility for pharmacy, in April.

Addressing the NPA conference in Manchester on 20 June, she said there is “far more that community pharmacy could do” to help people stay happy and healthy for longer. Pharmacies providing a wide range of services and quality would be rewarded, she added.

The Minister promised, “for our part, we will continue the development work funded by the Pharmacy Integration Fund and we will do more under the new test bed pilots announced in the GP contract.”  The government would work with the sector to develop and deliver an exciting future in which community pharmacies are better integrated with the wider primary healthcare system.

She also acknowledged that pharmacies are under financial pressure and promised a fair settlement in contract negotiations. Highlighting the NPA’s “excellent advocacy” on behalf of independents, she told the conference she is aware of the evidence the NPA has submitted to her department about pharmacy finances.

The Minister praised the “great work the NPA has done in creating the evidence base for community pharmacy’s role in identifying patients with hypertension”, the second biggest risk factor for premature death and disability in the UK.  In this respect, the NPA was “ahead of the curve” in developing preventative services in the community. She added that the NPA helps to maintain a diverse pharmacy market, and builds confidence in the sector through its patient safety role.

Opening the event, NPA Vice Chair Andrew Lane explained the conference theme, Forwards in Partnership:  “Partnership operates at many levels: from team working in your pharmacy, to providing multidisciplinary care with fellow health care professionals, and the most important clinical partnership of all – partnership with patients – empowering people to get the best use from their medicines. Partnership also extends to working collaboratively with the NHS in pursuit of shared, patient-focused objectives.”

NHS England’s Director of Primary Care Strategy & NHS Contracts, Ed Waller, took up the partnership theme by describing how community pharmacists could play a significant role in primary care networks.

Other keynote speakers included Scotland’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Professor Rose Marie Parr, Russell Goodway from Community Pharmacy Wales, RPS Chief Executive Paul Bennett and Joanne Hackett from Genomics England.

Alongside the conference ran an exhibition featuring a range of suppliers to the pharmacy sector, including headline sponsor Dexcel Pharma.  As usual, the NPA’s specialist employment law advisors were on hand for NPA members.

Editor of Pharmacy Magazine, Richard Thomas, chaired the day’s proceedings, which were followed by the NPA’s Annual General Meeting.

The conference live stream can be viewed HERE