Leading national pharmacy bodies have agreed to work together on a programme of activities to lobby for fair NHS funding for pharmacies in England, including co-ordinating efforts to mobilise public support.
The Save Our Pharmacies campaign will focus on highlighting both the pressures that pharmacies are under and the huge untapped potential of the sector – including to offer a Pharmacy First service – if appropriate resourcing is made available.
The pharmacy bodies will develop shared resources for effective parliamentary lobbying and mobilising public opinion, in the face of chronic underfunding that threatens further pharmacy closures.
They will also work hard to show off the value of pharmacy and to continue pushing for a fully funded Pharmacy First service.
Regular campaign events are expected, with the first likely to run in March.
#saveourpharmacies will be the default hashtag for the campaign on social media.
The pharmacy bodies –AIM, CCA, NPA and PSNC – already meet regularly to discuss shared concerns, share intelligence and to coordinate work such as to support the All-Party Pharmacy Group. However, this announcement marks a step up in terms of focused joint advocacy on funding matters.
The intention is to make campaigning on this topic more impactful and cut through to public and political opinion with consistent and repeated messaging across the sector.
Further details will be given in due course.
Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the CCA said:
“The current annual funding shortfall of £67,000 per pharmacy is simply untenable. The Government can no longer turn a blind eye to the sector’s broken funding model whilst insisting community pharmacy teams do more and more.
Unfortunately, patients, especially those in areas of deprivation, are bearing the brunt as pharmacies continue to close. Without immediate investment, pharmacy closures will only accelerate, and primary care access will deteriorate, plunging the NHS into an even deeper crisis.
The Government has a decision to make, and community pharmacies have already shown the tremendous strides they can take when the country needs them most. A fully funded Pharmacy First scheme will bring much needed investment into the sector and help build resilience and capacity into primary care.”