Pharmacy Cuts #lovemypharmacy

As you will no doubt be aware, there are cuts coming to the budget which will affect community pharmacy. As an Executive, we are worried that the cuts will adversely affect the public, as pharmacists are currently the most accessible health professional. Further, we believe that this will affect our future careers, and the first to feel the squeeze will be students, pre-reg's and newly qualified pharmacists. Therefore, we are actively campaigning for the government to reassess the cuts, before they are imposed to the detriment of patients and our careers.

One way in which you can help is to send an email to your local MP. This will take a few minutes, we have drafted up an email that you can copy and paste, and fill in the blanks for your details.

We urge everyone to do this, so that as many MPs as possible are aware of the upcoming cuts and can adequately represent you in Parliament.

To find your local MP, please see this website. If you input your postcode, you will be given your MPs contact details: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ 

BEGIN EMAIL

Dear {MPs NAME HERE},

My name is {YOUR NAME HERE}, and I am a pharmacy student at {School of Pharmacy}. I am writing to you, in your capacity as my local Member of Parliament, regarding proposed changes to the community pharmacy budget for next fiscal year which I believe will impact upon my ability to undergo pre-registration training, and to practice as a pharmacist.

As I am sure you are aware, the Department of Health wrote to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) on 17th December 2015, stating that £170m of funding would be cut from the community pharmacy budget, a reduction of 6%. This reduction is seemingly contrary to the ambition of the Department of Health to transform community pharmacy, which would require significant investment to facilitate the movement from a technical supply service into a more clinically focused service. Even allowing for greater levels of locally commissioned services, a decline in income is a significant challenge to community pharmacy, threatening the viability of their services in the future. The All Party Pharmacy Group have suggested that up to 3000 community pharmacies could close and this will likely have a negative impact on the health of the public as pharmacies are currently the most accessible health care professional, requiring no appointment or phone calls to receive health advice and interventions. In addition, existing pressures upon general practice, the NHS111 service and (by extension) emergency departments, will increase, and lessen availability for those service for those needing them.

Furthermore, of concern to me and other students, is the impact on the sustainability of the training of pharmacists. As you may be aware, pharmacists must currently study at university for four years, in addition to working as a pre-registration trainee for twelve months under the supervision of a mentor. In community pharmacy, the bursary given to trainees is supplied from the main community pharmacy budget, meaning that any reduction in the level of funding is likely to impact on the number of community pharmacies able to accept pre-registration trainees next year. The result of this would be a reduction in the number of qualified pharmacists registering, at a time when the department of health is increasingly utilising the clinical skills of pharmacists to support the health of the nation. A reduction in community pharmacies and pharmacists may lead to a decreasing equality of pharmaceutical care provision to patients across the country.

I am a member of the British Pharmaceutical Students' Association (BPSA), which represents every pharmacy undergraduate student and pre-registration trainee in Great Britain. Their Executive will be liaising directly with the Department of Health, the Health Select Committee, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury regarding the issues mentioned above. Please engage with students, pre-registration trainees, the BPSA, and qualified pharmacists on social media on Friday 26th February, using #lovemypharmacy, to see what they are discussing regarding this topic. In addition, if you receive any correspondence from ministers regarding this issue, I would appreciate being informed.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you will give me your support with respect to this issue.

Yours sincerely,
{YOUR NAME HERE}

END EMAIL

For further information, the following links have plenty of information.

http://www.rpharms.com/landing-pages/community-pharmacy-reforms.asp 

http://supportyourlocalpharmacy.org/ (a great portal for laypeople - one you could share with non-pharmacy folk!)

https://www.npa.co.uk/news-and-events/events/webinar-cuts-and-efficiencies-in-community-pharmacy-what-exactly-do-the-governments-proposals-mean/

http://www.the-pda.org/newsviews/nv_topical_news1.html?id=5212&PHPSESSID=c347786193c3cd832c7015e2e67066c1 

http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/views-from-the-nhs-frontline/2016/feb/01/pharmacists-meant-face-nhs-now-jobs-at-risk 

Image Source: Danny Allison




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