We recently started a campaign to support Tim Farrons Early Day motion to support community pharmacy. At a time when there are major cuts facing the NHS and the community pharmacies are ideally placed to reduce that pressure it makes very little sense to reduce funding and cut the number of pharmacies and reduce access. Please join us in lobbying your local MP to support Tim Farrons EDM 868. Below is a template email you can use and a link is provided at the bottom of the page to help you find your local MP.
Dear _ MP,
Today I write to you as a member of the third largest healthcare profession in the United Kingdom, to ask for your support on early day motion number 868, which was put forward by your colleague Tim Farron on 29th January 2018. This early day motion (EDM) draws attention to the issue of primary care community pharmacy funding.
Currently, the wider NHS is struggling financially and is seeing unprecedented pressures exacerbated by winter . Even the largest, most innovative hospital trusts are struggling to retain control of the situation. It is vital at this point to use all available resources to ensure patients continue to receive access to excellent healthcare in a timely and safe way. This is where Community Pharmacists can help. We can ensure the NHS mandate is preserved. As experts in medicines with detailed knowledge of minor ailments we are the first port of call for many patients and other healthcare professionals. Community Pharmacists help 1.8million patients every day – which in volume terms exceeded the rest of the health and care system.
However, in the last year community pharmacy has seen unparalleled financial cuts, putting increased pressure on rural and independent pharmacies. These pharmacies in particular are crucial to their local communities as they provide access to safe, effective and clinically appropriate health advice and medications for patients. Rural pharmacy owners are having to battle to find ways to keep their doors open for patients, with many spiralling into a cycle of debt.
In many rural areas of the UK, patients only have access to one local pharmacy and these are usually independently owned pharmacies. The larger chains rarely invest in rural stores owing to smaller profits. These small, local, and independently owned businesses are often the cornerstone of a community, where patients can receive advice on medication and health conditions, interpretation of hospital and general practice information, as well as other services, free of charge all year round. Pharmacists are the only healthcare professionals who do not ask patients to book appointments for consultations in the community. This service is simply too vital to cease.
The current situation, if allowed to continue will cause the extinction of the local rural pharmacy. Currently a community pharmacy will buy medicines from manufacturers and be reimbursed by the NHS for items dispensed, three months later. This means pharmacies are working on three month cycles, with many pharmacies dispensing more than 10,000 items every month, they are forced to borrow more money to pay for medicines for their patients. With an ever increasing number of medications being prescribed and the cost of many medicines going up, community pharmacies are in a constant uphill battle to be able to keep on-top of their bills.
In 2016 the NHS spent £9.2 billion on prescription items in the community and 1.1 billion prescription items were dispensed in the community. An increase of 1.89% from 1.08 billion in 2015. The data for 2017 is not out yet but was on track to be another increase in both spending and number of items dispensed.
This EDM would allow the NHS set up a scheme whereby regular, predictable, high quantity prescription items would be purchased by the NHS up front. It also would urge the government to ‘shield local community pharmacies from the high costs demanded by big drug companies’. We would ask that in a time where the NHS is in grave need of help to manage expenditures, whilst also meeting the public’s demand for care, that pharmacy is given the vital funding it so desperately needs to stop the inexcusable loss of rural health care providers.
Pharmacists across the country are endeavouring to meet the need of their businesses whilst disseminating high quality healthcare advice to patients that empowers them to take ownership of their conditions. This EDM would give Pharmacists the ability to keep their focus not on their finances but on their patients, your constituents.
Thank you for your support,
GPhC Number: (Optional)
To find your local MP:
Can everyone please write to your local MP to support Tim Farron Early Day Motion to support community pharmacy. We all need to work together to support the profession and this means pharmacists supporting contractors and contractors supporting pharmacists
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