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Pharmacies: Primary Care

Volume 699: debated on Tuesday 13 July 2021

We are committed to the five-year community pharmacy contract and to enabling community pharmacy to deliver more clinical services as well as being the first port of call for minor illnesses. Pharmacists are highly skilled members of the primary care team. We are making good progress with referrals from NHS 111 and general practice, with discharge medicines services from hospitals, and with 96% of pharmacies providing lateral flow tests as well as delivering vaccines. We know that community pharmacies are keen to deliver more, and we should be thinking pharmacy first.

I am sure the Minister agrees that pharmacies have gone above and beyond to deliver vital medicines and health advice to patients in their communities during the covid-19 pandemic and that their response underlines the huge potential to grow their already massive contribution to our nation’s health. Pharmacies have proven themselves to be a valuable member of the NHS family, so will she prioritise looking at the potential for pharmacies to provide even better primary care? Will she bring forward a plan to unleash their potential post pandemic?

I know that the hon. Lady speaks from experience, having been a clinical pharmacist before she came to this place. That potential needs unleashing. We are working across the profession to make sure that pharmacies are enabled to play a fuller part in the primary care family. We should think pharmacy first when we have minor ailments, and pharmacies should be enabled to do everything they can.