Join the DDA or

Rural pharmacy development debated in Parliament

Minister says there are "enough" patients to expand pharmacy services

June 22nd 2022

Tagged: political news Pharmacy owners' news Rurality

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Development of community pharmacies in rural areas has been debated in Parliament.

In a debate, Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish) (Lab) highlighted community pharmacy workforce problems in rural areas. He told the minister: “The increase in patient demand is putting pharmacies under more pressure.”

Calling for development of pharmacies he said: “There is a real opportunity for central Government to step in and to ensure that no matter where people live, they can access weight-management services, emergency contraception, smoking-cessation services and much more.”

In reply, pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield said that the Government was looking at both general practice and community pharmacies. She said: “it is not an either/or situation. We have enough capacity and patients to expand community pharmacy services, but that does not mean that we do not also need to support GPs and other primary care providers.”

Among the initiatives suggested as ways to improve use of community pharmacies are independent prescribing and patient group directions.

  •  A survey from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) shows nearly 19,000 GPs and trainees are set to leave the profession over the next five years. Age UK has told the Daily Mail that 45 per cent of older people said they were worried about their ability to access their GP. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, said Louise Jackson, Age UK health and care policy manager. She told the newspaper that it would be a mistake to put this down to the pandemic.