Pharmacists – another endangered species?


The Minister for Community and Social Care (Alistair Burt) spoke in Parliament on 24 May 2016 a few days before he silver tongued the BDA conference with similar words after which I wrote, “Much of his speech we have heard before and it did little to convince me that (NHS) dentistry is anything other than an irregular irritation in the big picture of health. There will be no more funding in the foreseeable future, no matter what sort of contract is produced, be prepared to deliver it with a tighter belt.”

Hansard has the full transcript of May 24th here but I have selected the phrases (reminiscent of Bullshit Bingo) that chimed with me, thinking back to his speech in Manchester.

We want to empower primary care health professionals to take up opportunities to embrace new ways of working with other health professionals to transform the quality of care that they provide to patients and the public. In particular, we want to free up pharmacists to spend more time delivering clinical and public health services to patients and the public in a range of settings.

I have seen at first hand the fantastic work that pharmacists are doing from within community pharmacies, such as in healthy living pharmacies and other settings, and colleagues have also paid tribute to that work. Pharmacy-led services, such as the recently recommissioned community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination programme, can help to relieve pressure on GPs and A&E departments……

The fund is set to rise by an additional £20 million a year. By 2020-21, we will have invested £300 million in addition to the £31 million that NHS England is investing in funding, recruiting and employing clinical pharmacists to work alongside GPs to ease current pressures in general practice and improve patient safety.

The chief pharmaceutical officer, has commissioned an independent review of community pharmacy clinical services to make recommendations on future models for commissioning pharmacy-led clinical services. Clinical pharmacists will offer complementary skills to GPs, giving patients access to a multi-disciplinary skill set, and helping GPs manage the demands on their time and provide a better experience for patients. This is a great opportunity for pharmacists wanting to make better use of their clinical skills and develop them further.

Sweet words indeed, after Alister Burt, who seemed to me to be a pragmatic and likeable (unlike his boss Mr Hunt) moved to the back benches post Brexit vote, the words are transformed into reality.

Pharmacy plan ‘could lead to High Street closures’ BBC website (October 20th 2016)

The Department of Health said it wanted to reduce the £2.8bn a year pharmacy bill by more than £200m over the next two years.
…It has been suggested cuts on this scale could lead to up to 3,000 of the 11,700 pharmacies being closed.
Currently, the average pharmacy receives £220,000 a year from the NHS.
This accounts for between 80% and 90% of their income and includes a flat rate of £25,000, which nearly all pharmacies receive.
The changes being announced scrap that and put much more emphasis on performance-related funding, with ministers understood to see the current system as outdated and inefficient…

I repeat….There will be no more funding …. no matter what sort of contract is produced, be prepare to deliver it with a tighter belt.

World class?

Use of the term world-class.

Usually means one of the following: you are lazy, corrupt, or deluded.

Rarely, it means something else that in almost all instances does not need saying. 

from reestheskin

Alun Rees new logo 3 v small

The Monday Morning Quote #390

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.”


The Monday Morning Quote #389

“We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking fast and Slow


Nigel Lawson and hubris

The former UK chancellor of the exchequer writing in the FT in a patronising piece about Brexit. (Sept 3rd)

“I was a member of the Thatcher government of the 1980s that transformed the British economy, an achievement acknowledged throughout the world at the time.”

Like many I acknowledge that the economy was transformed. Like many my spectacles aren’t nearly as rose tinted as Lord Lawson’s.

This is the man who said in the run up to the Brexit referendum that he hoped, “Ireland would recognise its mistake and rejoin the U.K. after Brexit”.

It’s sad how the humility learned from experience helps some people see a bigger picture as they get older but others become more entrenched trying to convince themselves and anyone who will listen that they never made a mistake.

Lest we forget Nigel Lawson was one of the loudest deniers of climate change.

The Monday Morning Quote #388

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labour and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

L.P. Jacks


via Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

I am not a physicist but I know one…

5100The news that three British physicists have been awarded the Nobel prize gives me some pride by distant association, my son is a physicist and understands the field infinitely (though he would probably dispute my use of that word) better than I do. I am trying to reacquaint myself with the subject that I studied through three examining boards at A-level by reading Carlo Revelli’s recent book.

Read all about the winners here.

What I did note was Sir Martin Rees’s comment, he is no relation but I share his views. The galloping scientific philistinism of politicians continues to make me despair. My son’s PhD studies are conducted in connection and co-operation with other European universities. He works alongside people from other countries who are contributing to increased knowledge and understanding. His department head is a professor who had the temerity to have been born beyond the White Cliffs of Dover.

Sir Martin Rees, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Cambridge, and the Astronomer Royal, noted that all three awardees were Brits who had “defected” to the US in the 1980s, when university budgets were being squeezed by the Thatcher government. “The UK scientific scene is now much stronger than it was then – thanks in part of the strengthening of science on mainland Europe,” he said. “But there is a serious risk, aggravated by the tone of Amber Rudd’s deplorable speech today, that there will be a renewed surge of defections, weakening UK science and causing us to fail to recoup our investments over the last 20 years.”

Amber Rudd at the Tory conference here.

and in its entirety here.

 ..and if you want to know more about the picture go here.