27/11/2012 - RPS labels Phillip Lee comments as misinformed and out of touch
Responding to comment by MP Dr Phillip Lee that £400 million could be saved from the drugs budget by allowing GP surgeries to dispense medicines, and that there would be no need for pharmacists to be involved in dispensing because ‘it's like counting Smarties', RPS President Martin Astbury said:
“I was shocked to read these comments from an MP and a GP which represent a worrying lack of appreciation and misinformed view of the current method of healthcare delivery in the NHS. Pharmacists are the experts on medicines and the act of supplying medicines to patients is a highly skilled activity. Pharmacists provide advice for patients and Doctors; they manage medicine interactions, reduce prescribing errors, report adverse medicine reactions, ensure the safe and effective management of medicines and so improve care throughout the NHS.
“Pharmacists already work in partnership with GPs and other members of the healthcare team to successfully manage treatments for better patient outcomes.
“Pharmacists also have an enviable record of productivity. Prescription items dispensed have increased by 56.3% over the past 10 years, costs of this service have reduced and more services are being provided by community pharmacists. For example, 2.4 million Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) were conducted by community pharmacy in England in 2011-12. The numbers quoted as savings quoted by Mr Lee are just plain wrong.
“The suggestion of Philip Lee to charge people who eat doughnuts for breakfast for their prescriptions is ludicrous. It shows how out of touch Mr Lee is with the very real challenges people are having managing the cost of their medicines within a squeezed family budget. People who don’t get the medicines they need will eventually become more unwell which leads to greater government spending on health and support services in the long- term. Rationing or stopping potentially life-saving medicines because of cost would be counterproductive for taxpayers, patients and the NHS. We believe there should be major reform of the Prescription charge system ending the injustice of charging patients with long term conditions.
The RPS has responded in the following way:
• Written a letter for publication to the Daily Mail where Mr Lee’s comments were first reported
• Written to the Prime Minister and Government Chief Whip seeking confirmation that Dr Lee’s comments don’t represent a change in Conservative Party policy
RPS spokesperson Neal Patel appeared on BBC London Radio to discuss Phillip Lee's comments about prescription charges. Listen to Neal's radio interview.