Two hundred pharmacists, pharmacy staff and other health service representatives attended a special reception hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at St James’s Palace on Wednesday evening (4 May).
The event recognised the work of pharmacy teams across the United Kingdom, in the light of their extraordinary contribution to the health of the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a closing speech, The Prince of Wales paid tribute to the work of pharmacies on the NHS frontline. He praised “the dedication and professionalism of pharmacy staff” during the Covid-19 pandemic and said, “I very much hope that this evening’s event will help, a little bit, to highlight the marvellous work you do in your communities day in and day out.”
His Royal Highness continued:
“And, if I may also say so, it is truly inspiring to know that this gathering includes people from so many of the different backgrounds that make up the pharmacy workforce today. Yours may be an ancient profession, but it certainly reflects modern Britain in all its splendid diversity.
“At the same time, you are a very familiar fixture in the nation’s high streets and neighbourhoods – something that people have come to rely on and value tremendously over generations. As well as providing prompt access to advice and treatment, of course the great thing is you are also a friendly and reassuring presence in our communities. A place where science, as it were, meets society. As I have said once before, pharmacies are about people and places, not just pills.”
His Royal Highness was introduced to guests by Andrew Lane, Chair of the National Pharmacy Association, and fellow NPA Board member Raj Aggarwal OBE. The event was held, in part, to mark the NPA’s recent centenary.
Andrew Lane said afterwards: “It was a privilege to meet The Prince of Wales and to be amongst so many great pharmacy colleagues at this very special event. His Royal Highness was very interested in what we do for our communities and he really gets what we are all about as a profession.”
David Webb, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England said: “The reception was a highlight in my new role so far, giving me an opportunity to engage in conversation with many pharmacist colleagues from across the country. I heard what’s important to them and about the great work pharmacy teams are doing to deliver on the new NHS community pharmacy clinical services, which are making an all-important difference to patient care.”
The full transcript of the Prince's message to pharmacy teams can be read here.
See below a selection of images of Prince Charles meeting guests during the reception, courtesy of Ian Jones Photography.