Community pharmacies have had further backing from MPs, Peers and others following the announcement of the Government and NHS plans to expand their roles this week.
As Secretary of State for Health Steve Barclay announced the plans to invest £645m in the sector in Parliament on Tuesday, he praised the clinical expertise in the sector and the huge resource that it offers.
MPs from all parties then asked questions, with Jackie Doyle-Price MP praising pharmacists’ skills, Health Select Committee Chair Steve Brine MP asking how soon the money could reach pharmacies, and APPG Chair Taiwo Owatemi MP calling the plans ‘a step in the right direction’.
Daisy Cooper MP cited PSNC Pressures Survey data showing how concerned some pharmacy owners are about the future of their businesses, and Bob Seely MP also noted the pressures on the sector.
In a similar session in the House of Lords, Baroness Wheeler said that Labour supports the extended role for community pharmacies, whilst also recognising that ‘much now needs to be discussed by the PSNC, the Department of Health and NHS England’. Lord Bellingham declared his support for the Pharmacy First initiative, which he felt could be ‘a lifeline to lots of pharmacies that are under pressure’.
Ahead of these Parliamentary sessions, PSNC had emailed almost 50 supportive MPs and Peers to thank them for their help with getting the support for Pharmacy First but also to emphasise that the Government’s announcement won’t be an overnight fix for pharmacies.
National Media Coverage
PSNC, along with the other national pharmacy bodies, has also been briefing as many national media outlets as possible and supporting LPCs and pharmacists who have been asked to contribute to the ongoing local coverage. We know that much local and other work has also gone on, and our thanks go to all who have helped with this.
Pharmacy appeared across the national newspapers, on BBC Radio 4, TalkTV, LBC, and local radio stations. A selection of this coverage appears below.
In statements and interviews we have been working hard to make sure that the public understands that whilst community pharmacies are keen to help improve access to healthcare and very capable of doing so, the detail of these plans and how funding will flow into the sector are vital aspects to get right to make these plans a reality.
If you are asked for comment or to give an interview on the Government and NHS plans we may be able to help. Please get in touch with our Communications Team via firstname.lastname@example.org for advice and support.
In some interviews, questions are being raised such as about antibiotic resistance and we can help you to address these confidently.
Zoe Long, PSNC Director of Communications and Public Affairs, said:
“Thank you to everyone in community pharmacy who has contributed to the coverage about the sector over the past few days – it was fantastic to hear so many voices across Parliament and beyond getting behind the critical role that pharmacies can play and the support they need. Alongside the negotiations we will continue to work hard over the coming months to lay the groundwork for future CPCF arrangements, continuing our vision and strategy work, and positioning pharmacy positively for the future.”