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Pharmacy Services

Volume 635: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2018

It is good to be back.

As I have repeatedly said at the Dispatch Box, pharmacies are a vital frontline service for our NHS, with over 1.2 million health-related visits every day. Community pharmacies have again stepped up during this winter period, and I thank them for their hard work. They have vaccinated more than 1 million people against seasonal flu since October. The Government are committed to ensuring that pharmacies and pharmacists are further embedded in the wider health service.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Will he come to Derby to meet a constituent who has pharmacies that are working very hard to keep patients out of hospital, therefore saving the NHS money through their innovative ideas?

Yes, I will do that. I think we have a provisional date in the diary in early March. We continue to promote the Pharmacy First scheme. Next month, we will launch the £2 million Stay Well pharmacy campaign to continue to promote the idea of community pharmacy as the first port of call for many minor health concerns. I am out and about visiting pharmacies—I was at one last week—and I will be very pleased to come to see my hon. Friend.

21. The Minister will be aware that a disproportionate number of GPs are currently heading towards retirement. Therefore, support for primary care services is vital. What practical steps can be taken to increase the use of pharmacies and to seek alternatives to GP services more generally? (903795)

As the hon. Gentleman knows, there are a record number of training places. We know that one of the main reasons why GPs leave general practice is retirement, which is why we have put in place comprehensive measures to ensure that we meet our commitment to deliver an extra 5,000 GPs in the NHS by 2020. GP career plus, the GP retention scheme and the national GP induction and refresher scheme will all help get to valuable experienced GPs back into our NHS, doing the valuable work our constituents so benefit from.