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Wake up to pharmacy plans threat

How many of us have woken up to the proposals of the pharmacy white paper published in April?

This document will have far-reaching consequences for us all in general practice. A white paper is a statement of Government intent - no mere discussion document.

It proposes that rather than a pharmacy being reliant on the dispensing fee for much of its income, it should be the delivery vessel of chronic disease management services.

Among the examples cited are care of asthma and diabetes, blood pressure checks, anticoagulation checks, blood tests for cholesterol, heart MOTs, immunisations and weight management services.

Pharmacists would also be involved in commissioning and in prevention of hospital admissions, saving each GP one hour per day through minor ailment services, and even preventing and detecting cancers - yes, I kid you not. All this after the huge success of Medicines Use Reviews at £27 a pop.

Two things are certain.

First, a trail of patients will come in to see me clutching worthless bits of paper, which will tell me the obvious in an attempt to abrogate clinical responsibility.

Second, PCTs will have to weigh up who they are going to commission to deliver certain chronic disease management services - us or the pharmacists.

It states in the white paper that PCTs will not wish to pay twice for services. You have been warned.

Dr Lisa Silver, Nettlebed, Oxfordshire

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