GP and Pharmacy Services

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2023 National Retired Members Conference
8 June 2023
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with concern the Government’s pressure for people to consult pharmacists in the first instance rather than their GP surgery. This is the result of its continuing underfunding of the NHS and, in particular, general practice surgeries, with a large deficit of fully trained GPs. This is at a time when pharmacies across all four nations are either closing due to the pressures of the cost of living crisis, or moving into large supermarkets where there is not always space for a separate consulting room. This is currently happening within NHS England but may well become an adopted practice within the other nations of the UK.

Whilst Conference recognises the ability and help pharmacists can offer, this inevitably can only be at a certain level and is no substitute for proper medical appointments. When people cannot get to see their GP and are not confident with advice given by pharmacists, this will only lead to greater pressure on A&E Departments, the very thing Government says it is trying to avoid by promoting pharmacist appointments.

This is especially concerning for older people who are more likely to have complex medical needs, as they may be offered incorrect or insufficient advice from pharmacists especially as they do not have access to all a person’s medical records unlike GPs.

Conference therefore calls on the National Committee to:

i)work with the NPC and TUC Pensioner organisations to lobby the Government to properly fund GP surgeries and pharmacy services.

ii)alert those in Scotland, Wales and N Ireland to this development and to organise with relevant Older People Organisations to resist it

iii)encourage regions and branches to work locally with relevant organisations to resist this development and campaign for GP services to be much more available to all.