The Company Chemists’ Association co-hosted a Future of Pharmacy event in Westminster to highlight the significant contribution of pharmacies to the health of the nation and their potential to do more to address ongoing healthcare challenges. This comes as a delegation of pharmacy representatives handed a letter into the Prime Minister warning of possible closures if pharmacies are not given the necessary support and resources.
53 Parliamentarians attended the event, which took place on Tuesday 5th July in the Palace of Westminster, to hear directly from frontline pharmacists and representatives of pharmacy bodies about the potential for community pharmacies to help the NHS address current challenges such as healthcare backlogs and waiting lists in primary care. Pharmacists are highly trusted, medically trained professionals sat at the heart of their communities and should be better utilised to ease pressure on GP surgeries, urgent care centres and A&E departments which are becoming more and more overstretched.
However, recent figures from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), for example, show that 639 local pharmacies have been lost in England since 2016. Parliamentarians attending the event were warned about the threat of pharmacy closures and urged to push for support for the sector so as to prevent the loss of such a valuable healthcare resource at a time when it is needed the most.
Following the event, a letter calling for support for pharmacies was handed into the Prime Minister by a delegation representing pharmacy teams. The letter was signed by 24 supportive Parliamentarians.
The event and letter were organised by the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, the Company Chemists’ Association, National Pharmacy Association, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) said: “We were pleased to see Parliamentarians recognise the tremendous efforts of frontline pharmacy teams and the continued financial and workforce pressures pharmacy businesses of all sizes face. Pharmacy staff wish to do their bit to bust the backlog but can only do so if the sector receives the funding it truly deserves. It’s imperative that the Government invests in a sector that has delivered so much for the country in its hour of need, otherwise the prospect of further pharmacy closures looms large. The sector deserves a funding settlement that truly reflects its value to patients, the public and the NHS”.