Community Pharmacies

Peter Dowd (Bootle) (Lab): On that point, does the hon. Gentleman agree that what is needed is a joint, co-ordinated approach to planning investment and implementing change, in partnership with national and community pharmacy bodies, rather than pushing things through at a great pace?

Derek Thomas: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. In my experience so far of looking at this subject, I have found that those in the pharmacist community do not feel that they have been properly consulted or engaged with. Pharmacists believe that they have many of the solutions that the Government wish to see.

Before I conclude, I will read one final letter that I received on Monday from a GP in my constituency. Dr Rebecca Osbourne writes:

“As you will no doubt be aware, General Practice is facing a crisis with too few GPs managing an ever-growing demand. Demand for appointments outstrips availability of doctors and allied surgery staff, and patient needs are increasingly complex with an ageing population with multi-morbidity.

A good Pharmacist helps to take some of the pressure off a local surgery—offering advice about self-limiting conditions, and prescribing over the counter medications for presentations that do not need to be taken as ‘on the day’ appointments with a GP; patients who are on complex medications can receive education and advice from their pharmacist regarding their regime, including the importance of compliance, which can further reduce the burden elsewhere in the system; vulnerable patients, whether elderly or experiencing mental ill-health, have an extra professional keeping watch over them, and a pharmacist may be better placed than a GP”—

it was a GP who wrote this—

“to see a trend developing or a change that requires further attention.”



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