By: Pramod Thomas
THE ‘SaveOurPharmacies’ roundtable was held on Tuesday (21) to discuss severe challenges faced by the community pharmacies in England witnessed the support of 15 MPs.
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC); Andrew Lane, independent pharmacy owner and Chairman, National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and Ian Strachan, independent pharmacy owner and Board Member, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIM) attended the summit, which was chaired by Stephen Hammond MP, to brief MPs on the severe challenges facing the sector.
MPs in attendance were Stephen Hammond, Sally-Ann Hart, Peter Aldous, Anna Firth, Taiwo Owatemi, Bob Seely, Derek Thomas, David Rutley, Lilian Greenwood, Tulip Siddiq, Hillary Benn, Sarah Olney, Christian Wakeford, Daisy Cooper (researcher) and Victoria Atkins (researcher)
The title of the event ‘Community pharmacy’s role in the Primary Care Recovery Plan’ which is expected imminently, is set to include a variety of measures aimed at helping primary care to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
PSNC has been pressing for the plan to include a fully-funded national Pharmacy First service as this is the best chance for getting significant additional funds into community pharmacies.
Morrison said: “The #SaveOurPharmacies roundtable was another critical opportunity to get together with MPs for a very open and frank discussion about the current challenges facing community pharmacies. The situation is critical – pharmacies need a lifeline.”
“If no help is forthcoming, Government can expect to hear from more and more patients who are unable to access pharmacy services or even medicines.
It was good to hear that there remains an abundance of political goodwill towards the community pharmacy sector, as well as very real concern about the future and the potential impact on the millions of people who visit us every week.
She hopes that all attending MPs will now encourage the Government to take firm and decisive action to invest in our community pharmacies in order to safeguard safe and reliable access to medicines for patients and the public.
During the Parliamentary summit, MPs asked about what urgent action is needed to address the current severe challenges facing community pharmacy. Janet Morrison OBE gave an overview of the current situation, including outlining the discussions she has been having with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and stressing the very urgent need for additional funding.
The contractors who were present, including PSNC Member Fin McCaul, gave MPs a flavour of the situation on the ground, stressing that consistent underfunding for the sector is now having a detrimental impact on patient services.