Oliver Dowden, Member of Parliament for Hertsmere, last week voiced his support for the immense community value provided by local pharmacies. He followed the speech with a visit to the Crown Pharmacy in Shenley.
In a speech in the House of Commons, Mr Dowden outlined his support for the Government’s need to reform the way private pharmacies are funded by the Department of Health. However, he called on Ministers to do more to recognise their community value.
Oliver said: ‘We see time and time again that the commitment of pharmacies to their customers goes way beyond what we would see from a normal retailer. I know this from experience with our excellent local pharmacies such as Manor Pharmacy in Elstree and the Crown Pharmacies in Borehamwood and Shenley which I visited at the weekend.
‘There is a genuine understanding of the needs, health and wellbeing of the people who use such pharmacies, from providing dementia-friendly services to healthy living advice and help quitting smoking.’
He also paid tribute to local Radlett and Elstree pharmacist, Mr Graham Phillips, whom he has met on several occasions.
Oliver said: ‘The Government has demonstrated an understanding of the need to support and encourage community pharmacies, whilst at the same time seeking savings.
‘I welcome the measures taken to protect key local pharmacies through the Community Access Scheme. This largely deals with the challenge of ensuring that in smaller towns and villages, local people, particularly the elderly, will have the reassurance that their pharmacy will not face significant cuts. For example, Hertsmere, the services in places such as Elstree and Shenley.’
‘I also welcome the introduction of the Quality Payment Scheme. This programme will mean £75million of funding is made available to pharmacies which demonstrate excellent service when they meet Government criteria in areas such as providing additional care services, digital accessibility and dementia friendliness.
‘These are all exactly the sort of provisions that the Government should be supporting and incentivising. But there is much the Government could to recognise and support the provision of services that take pressure off the NHS.’