Public Affairs Manager Neil Bhayani highlights some of the NPA’s recent advocacy and lobbying activities.
NPA board member Raj Patel, joined a virtual discussion with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and young people participating in the government’s Kickstart employment scheme. Raj said the scheme had helped his pharmacies cope with staff shortages owing to COVID isolations and increased workload, but pointed out that funding for the sector was inadequate overall.
The NPA held a virtual Ministerial round table with Kemi Badenoch MP, Minister for Equalities; Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP, and Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill MP about reaching out to patients and communities who might otherwise miss out on vital care, such as the COVID vaccine.
NPA members in the constituencies of Treasury and Health ministers warned the government not to backtrack on promises to cover COVID costs. They displayed posters and distributed leaflets (supplied by the NPA), which warned that funding cuts and COVID costs have taken many pharmacies to the brink of closure. The NPA also placed adverts in local newspapers and on influential political websites.
Thousands more people have signed a petition calling on the government to recompense pharmacies for the extra costs they have incurred during COVID-19. The total now stands at more than 90,000.
Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, secured a parliamentary debate on community pharmacy in Westminster Hall on 11th March. The debate focused on the impact of COVID-19 on community pharmacy. The NPA briefed MPs before this event and supported NPA members to reach out to their MPs.
The debate drew on many of the findings and recommendations of the December 2020 All-Party Pharmacy Group Covid-19 Inquiry Report into the state of the pharmacy sector in England in the light of pressures caused by COVID-19. For over 20 years, the NPA has been a co-sponsor of the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG), alongside PSNC and others.
The next APPG event will be a virtual drop-in session for MPs and Peers on Wednesday 28th April. The topic is future sustainable funding for pharmacy and the potential to play a bigger role in primary care.
I want to assure LPCs that the NPA works closely with the PSNC and other pharmacy bodies on the advocacy agenda – wherever possible presenting a united front and a consistent message to politicians, policy-makers and other key stakeholders.