Minister Maria Caulfield thanks pharmacies for pandemic work

PSNC this week had an introductory meeting with new pharmacy Minister, Maria Caulfield MP, at which the ongoing challenges facing the sector as well as future opportunities for pharmacy businesses were considered.

The Minister asked PSNC to convey her thanks to all pharmacies for the work done by the sector through the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients, including her constituents, had really appreciated the sector through this time, she said.

The introductory meeting between the Minister for Patient Safety and Primary Care and members of PSNC’s Leadership Team followed an initial informal meeting at a visit to an independent pharmacy last week, which was organised by PSNC and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

As well as emphasising the value of the sector through the pandemic, PSNC raised the very serious pressures on pharmacy businesses resulting from the ongoing funding squeeze, and the severity of capacity and workforce issues.

The changing nature of advice and support needed by patients walking into, and phoning pharmacies was also discussed, along with consideration of how pharmacies can be empowered to do more to support people with minor ailments, in line with recent ambitions set out by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Speaking after the meeting, Zoe Long, PSNC Director of Communications and Public Affairs, said:

“It was great to hear the Minister talking so positively about the role pharmacies have played during the pandemic and how much people, including her own constituents, have relied on them.

“We were also pleased to hear that while Government has ambitions to create more opportunities for pharmacies, they remain conscious of the pressures the sector is facing.

“PSNC is really concerned about the distress that many pharmacy contractors and their teams are experiencing, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Minister to support community pharmacies as they continue to help patients and the NHS.”

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