Pharmacists are urged to capture images that show the public’s appreciation of the services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIM) has launched a new national campaign to highlight the contribution of community pharmacies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of AIM, said the crisis has made it clear that community pharmacy is “part of that fabric which shapes the lives of our communities and the patients we serve,” adding that the pharmacy needs to step forward and demonstrate its value and the effort it has taken during this difficult period.

“We want to highlight to politicians that without community pharmacy and the courage and commitment of your teams, patients and communities would have faced real challenges of access to their vital medicines,” she said in a communication.

The campaign will reach out to the patients and the MPs in three phases.

In the first phase, pharmacists are urged to capture images that show the public’s appreciation of the services offered during the period to share on social media and the press.

In the second and third phases, intervention of MPs will be sought by writing to them and inviting them to visit local pharmacies.

“We want community pharmacies to be championed by as many MPs as possible in parliament and will be working with all pharmacy bodies to that effect,” Hannbeck said.

AIM will share the posters and photos sent by the pharmacy teams to its Instagram page. The organisation will also provide a virtual postcard of these visuals to send to local MPs.

AIM clarified that no written consent or signature is needed to feature patients’ photos on social media, but pharmacy teams need to get their verbal consent and it can be added on their PMR. It also urged to not use the same paper for several patients to avoid the risk of contamination.

Hannbeck said all community pharmacies can get involved in the campaign. The pictures can be sent via email to: [email protected] or via Whatsapp on: 07508932868

AIM plans to finish the phase one of the campaign by 30 April, and begin the phase two – writing to local MPs – in the first week of May. Pharmacy visits by MPs, the third phase, will take place post lockdowm.

“This is your moment to shape pharmacies future. AIM believes that moment is now. This is pharmacy’s time and that window is no more than three weeks. Let’s influence that future together,” Hannbeck said.

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