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Local Pharmacies

Volume 650: debated on Tuesday 27 November 2018

Community pharmacies play a vital role in our health service, but we know they can do more, and we are determined to see them do more, to keep people healthy.

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for that answer, because he is absolutely right in what he says. The Dorset Local Pharmaceutical Committee is very active and is promoting the policy of Pharmacy First, which should help to relieve pressure on our general practitioners, and even on our accident and emergency facilities. What is he doing to support that policy?

I agree very much with my hon. Friend that pharmacies can play an increasing role in helping to make sure that people get their healthcare where they need it, and in keeping the pressure off GPs and off secondary care by making sure that people can help themselves to stay healthy. We are piloting 111 directing people to pharmacies as well as to GPs and, where appropriate, to secondary care, and encouraging people to use pharmacies for minor ailments, but there is much more we can do together on this.

The NHS Confederation has warned that, following Brexit, the supply of some medicines and medical technologies may be delayed in reaching patients, and some may not be available at all. The chief executive officer of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has been clear that we cannot stockpile the amounts we are going to need, because we do not have sufficient cold warehouse storage. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is worried therefore that diabetics will not be able to access insulin. What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that community pharmacies are able to supply vital medical supplies post Brexit, particularly in the event of no deal?

Community pharmacies, like everybody else, should support the Prime Minister’s deal, which will make sure that that eventuality does not occur.