With the general election resulting in a hung parliament and no party having a clear majority, the future of the country and the pharmacy sector hangs in the balance. But despite this uncertainty, the situation is being seen by many in the industry as an opportunity for a fresh start, not least because the pharmacy minister David Mowat lost his Warrington South seat to Labour’s Faisal Rashid in the election. A new ministerial team was being put into place at the time of going to press.
Commenting on the general election result, Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said: “Each of the main parties in England recognised the important role community pharmacists play in delivering healthcare in their manifestos. “The start of a new Parliament now offers the Government an opportunity to reset and rebuild its relationship with community pharmacy and we look forward to working with it and the other pharmacy organisations to ensure it delivers on these commitments.”
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has also called on the political parties to follow through on their manifesto promises to support pharmacies and their patients. Ian Strachan, NPA chairman, said: “Whatever the composition of the new Government, they must make good on their promises in relation to local pharmacies. We look forward to working constructively with the new team in the Department of Health to turn these promises into a reality that benefi ts patients across the country. This election was not just about Brexit, it was also about public services such as the NHS, of which your local pharmacy is the frontline.”
PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe commented on the “extraordinary election” and stated that while it’s too soon to say exactly what the result will mean for community pharmacy, PSNC will “begin discussions with health ministers at the earliest opportunity to develop policy to secure a strong future.”
Ms Sharpe added: “We do know that the hard work put in by community pharmacy teams, LPCs and the national organisations last year led to community pharmacy being specifi cally mentioned in many of the parties’ manifestos. This is a fi rst, and something we can build on over the coming months to increase the support we have for the sector. PSNC’s aim will be to ensure that any new Government understands fully the value and potential of community pharmacy.”
Key community pharmacy supporters have retained their seats, including Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, and Jonathon Ashworth, shadow health secretary. PSNC has said it looks forward to continuing to work with these MPs to promote the sector and all that is has to offer.