Labor has no plans to nationalize hospital pharmacy, says shadow pharmacy minister

Labor Party proposals to nationalize hospital pharmacy services have been taken off the table, the shadow minister of health responsible for pharmacy said.

It comes after former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told LBC Radio in November 2019 that the Labor Party intended to move the provision of pharmacy services “in-house”.

Pharmaceutical journal later clarified that the plans were to return hospital pharmacies run by private companies to NHS property.

However, shadow minister of pharmacy Alex Norris said Pharmaceutical journal on March 24, 2021 that it was “not in the current plans”.

“The key for us now is to respond to the NHS white paper on terms set by the government, so that is our goal,” he said.

Talk to Pharmaceutical journal Following a parliamentary debate on community pharmacy funding on March 11, 2021, Norris said the current model community pharmacy contract in England was “funded by other elements, [and] it is not sustainable.

He said a revised funding model under a Labor government would look at “the whole range of operations in a pharmacy”.

“What are the things that we don’t want people to do in walk-in centers or A&E that could be done on Main Street? He explained. “That’s what pharmacists tell us they want to do, but it needs to be reflected in the contract rather than just goodwill. “

“So rather than adopting – as we have done in this country for the last decade – a ‘sweat assets’ approach to public services, we need to have an investment approach,” he said. he declares.

He added that the reduction in dispensing fees was “a sign of the government’s wrong approach” to community pharmacy.

“It’s one aspect – a very important aspect of the nature of community pharmacy – but looking at this one thing … in isolation, I think that’s a mistake.”

As part of the community pharmacy contractual framework for 2019/2020 to 2023/2024, the government has said it plans to reduce dispensing fees by an amount yet to be agreed upon on the five-year settlement.

Norris added that the lack of government funding for COVID-19 pharmacy costs shows “a failure of leadership.”

Although the Prime Minister has pledged additional funding for the community pharmacy, Norris said, “That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. “

Government response to pharmacy closures “explains failure”, says Norris

Alex Norris said Pharmaceutical journal that he was “worried about the prospects” for community pharmacies.

“I think the Department [of Health and Social Care] believes that there are too many community pharmacies and, therefore, [the prime minister is] let the market deal with it, ”he said.

A survey of Pharmaceutical journal in January 2021 revealed that the number of closures increased during the pandemic, with a net total of 202 pharmacies closed in 2020, up from 123 net closings in 2019, 122 in 2018 and just 25 in 2017.

Deprived areas turned out to be the hardest hit, with 81 of those closures occurring in the 20% of the most deprived areas, while 19 were closed in the 20% of the richest areas in 2020.

Norris said Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill’s response to the parliamentary debate on March 11, 2021 – that there are more closures “where they’re clustered” – “explains the failure”.

“The problem with the current department’s analysis is that they come across as passive observers,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, they have a contractual relationship with the pharmacies, and if their partners go bankrupt and they are the main source of funding, that poses a very deep question.”

READ MORE: PJ Point of View: Pharmacies Shouldn’t Have to Beg for COVID-19 Expenses

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