Following a drop-in surgery in St Ives in January 2016, Carbis Bay pharmacist Claire Field alerted Derek to the potential impact on independent community pharmacists of proposed changes to the funding arrangements for community pharmacy provision.
Their conversation followed an announcement in December 2015 by the Department of Health setting out its plan to reduce its funding commitment for Community Pharmacy by £170m but at the same time stressing the potential for far greater use of community pharmacy and pharmacists. The proposal raised fears that some areas might be left without a nearby chemist, forcing the elderly and seriously ill to travel miles to their closest branch.
23rd February, 2016
Derek Thomas led a debate in Parliament on behalf of West Cornwall's pharmacists, asking the Government what assurances could be given to independent community pharmacists and what consultation has been conducted with Pharmacy patients and what their concerns would be if community pharmacies where to close.
24th February, 2016
Derek invites Health Minister Alistair Burt to meet community pharmacists in West Cornwall.
14th March, 2016
Alistair Burt writes to Derek in response to the points he made in the Westminster debate and said that the Government was considering a Pharmacy Access Scheme, providing more funds for certain pharmacies than others depending on location and the health needs of the population.
23rd May, 2016
Derek attends briefing on community pharmacy proposals with Alistair Burt and Dr Keith Ridge, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer.
24th May, 2016
Derek helps to deliver the biggest ever healthcare petition (eventually signed by more than 2 million people) to No. 10 Downing Street. The petition calls on the Government to abandon plans to cut pharmacy funding. The delivery of the petition coincides with the end of the consultation period on the Government’s pharmacy proposals.
12th July, 2016
Alistair Burt cancels planned visit to Carbis Bay after the resignation of David Cameron and election of Theresa May.
5th September, 2016
New Pharmacy Minister David Mowat announces a temporary reprieve for community pharmacies threatened by the £170 million subsidy cut.
20th October, 2016
Derek Thomas cautiously welcomes the Government announcement about community pharmacies which confirms that the community pharmacy budget will be reduced from its current £2.8 billion level to £2.687 billion in 2016-17 and £2.592 billion in 2017-18 even though Derek has been campaigning against such cuts.
Derek said "I see the community pharmacist as an essential player in a new NHS equipped to meet the demands that modern society places upon it. However, a wrong move by the government now may make independent community pharmacists unviable."
To contact Derek about this campaign please click here.