Open letter urges political parties to adopt six-point plan for community pharmacy

The Chief Executives of Community Pharmacy England, the Company Chemists’ Association, the National Pharmacy Association and the Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board have issued an open letter to political parties urging the adoption of the six-point plan laid out in the #VotePharmacy general election manifesto for community pharmacy

The letter is copied in full below:

Open letter to political parties ahead of the General Election: a
manifesto for community pharmacy

For decades, the 10,500+ community pharmacies in England have ensured patients can
easily and safely access the medicines and healthcare advice they need. As the healthcare needs of the population have evolved, so have community pharmacies.

The recent launch of the Pharmacy First service in England is testament to the growing role that pharmacies can play in the nation’s healthcare. Over 98% of pharmacies have signed up to the service and well over a million people have benefited from it since its launch, demonstrating the sector’s willingness to step up and help relieve pressures elsewhere in the NHS.

As a recent Health and Social Care Committee report [1] recognised, pharmacy has fantastic potential to improve access to healthcare in the community. But, as the Committee also found, any further services can only be delivered in the context of fair, sustainable funding for the sector.

With investment, community pharmacy can do more, however the sector is in crisis.

Government funding for pharmacies has failed to keep pace with ever-growing NHS workload demands and spiralling costs. As the Health and Social Care Committee report notes, the current Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework is ‘not fit for purpose’ and requires a ‘complete overhaul’. The pharmacy network is shrinking, and closures are disproportionately affecting the most deprived communities. This strain is in turn felt by patients and the public in receiving the care when and where they need it.

Without action, patients will find it harder to access the healthcare, expert advice and
vital medicines they need.

The Health and Social Care Committee recognises these severe pressures and outlines a
number of vital measures that any future Government must implement to stabilise the sector.
We would like to draw your attention to our manifesto for community pharmacy [2] which is in line with the recommendations of the Committee and sets out a six-point plan to:

Fill the funding gap, and commit to a long-term sustainable funding solution, so pharmacies can deliver more of the NHS care patients need.

    1. Support and enhance the community pharmacy workforce, to ensure that pharmacists and their teams can continue to meet the needs of patients now and in the future.
    2. Conduct an end-to-end review of the medicines supply chain, so that patients can access the medicines they need.
    3. Rollout an enhanced Pharmacy First service for England mirroring the highly successful approaches taken in Scotland and Wales.
    4. Empower community pharmacists to do more, with an ambitious roadmap for independent prescribing.
    5. Make pharmacies centres for public health, prevention and reducing health inequalities.
    6. A vibrant pharmacy network can increase patient access, free up GP capacity, and support the NHS as it reduces the care backlog.
    7. We urge all political parties to adopt the six-point plan outlined in our manifesto for community pharmacy.

The four pharmacy bodies launched their manifesto in March 2024. The manifesto can be used by anyone in the community pharmacy sector, including LPCs and all pharmacy owners, to engage with political parties and candidates in the run-up to the election. The #VotePharmacy Manifesto and other resources that promote pharmacy to parliamentary candidates can be accessed from an online general election hub, The hub includes practical advice to pharmacy teams about engaging with candidates.

[1] Health and Social Care Committee, ‘MP’s hear that community pharmacy funding model is ‘broken’, 29 May 2024. The Committee’s report is available in full here
[2] A manifesto for community pharmacy, March 2024

Photo by Jacob Diehl on Unsplash

Press Enquiries

For media enquiries, contact [email protected] email us

Back to top of page