Engage with Labour’s health policy review, says Reed

Shadow pharmacy minister Jamie Reed has called for pharmacists to engage with the Labour Party’s health and social care policy review. "We want to hear your views, your experiences and your hopes and fears for the NHS," he said at the Sigma Pharmaceuticals conference, held in Windsor, Berkshire, last week (17 May 2013). The review presents the chance to change the terms of the health and care debate in this country, which for too long has been stuck on regulation, commissioning and competition, he added. If Labour gets into power at the 2015 general election, it will repeal the Health and Social Care Act within six months of being in office and integrate clinical commissioning groups with local government structures so as to give a broader approach to commissioning healthcare services, said Mr Reed. However, he confirmed that Labour does not intend to restructure the NHS since it recognises that the service has no capacity for further top-down reorganisation. During his speech to the conference, Mr Reed also highlighted the pharmacy practice incentive programme in Australia and asked whether every interface between the patient and the pharmacist in the UK achieves all it can. "If we could use these interactions better, what more could we do? What differences could we make? How could we do this? How would we support the NHS to make the best use of its resources and how should pharmacists be incentivised to help achieve this?" He also suggested that pharmacies could fill the void that closure of libraries, post offices and other community buildings has left and become the hub of the community. The Independent Pharmacy Federation is hosting a debate with shadow health secretary Andy Burnham as part of Labour’s health and care policy review in London on 11 June 2013. Pharmacists interested in participating can contact IPF chief executive Claire Ward.


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