The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has 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 had been signed by 24 supportive Parliamentarians. The text of the letter can be viewed here.
The event and letter were organised by the NPA, the Company Chemists' Association, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Nick Kaye, Vice chair of the NPA says: “Chronic underfunding has resulted in hundreds of pharmacy closures and MPs from all parties are clearly saying this can’t go on. Closures mean less capacity at a time when healthcare needs are growing, the NHS is under pressure and community-based provision needs to step up, not shrink. There are many more pharmacies holding back investment in staff, premises and services, as they struggle to make ends meet. Without sustained investment, community pharmacies like mine will be unable to play their full part in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic and an historic opportunity for transforming primary care will be lost.”