In a bid to develop ‘real world’ guidance for the NHS and the wider healthcare sector, Aston University in Birmingham will be conducting a research into the role of community pharmacy during pandemics.

The study, led by Aston Pharmacy School, aims to understand how, why, for whom and when community pharmacy can effectively support the public health response to pandemics such as Covid-19 and other future health emergencies.

Researchers will focus primarily on the Covid-19 experience of the pharmacy sector, undertaking a literature review and interviewing key players from amongst pharmacy staff, patient groups and GPs.

Commenting on the project, Alastair Buxton, PSNC director of NHS Services, said: “Community pharmacy teams have really gone the extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is important that we recognise their achievements and also learn from their experiences. This project will help the profession to do both.

“We look forward to the research helping the sector and PSNC consider how else community pharmacies can best play their part in supporting patients and the NHS, as the pandemic continues to take its course.”

The research is being funded by the Medical Research Council and the Aston Univeristy team will get valuable input on learnings from other countries and previous pandemics with the study also involving researchers from the universities of Hull, Oxford and Sheffield in the UK and academics from universities in Australia and Canada.

“With over 11,700 high street locations, community pharmacies can ensure people from different socio-economic groups and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups have equal access to vaccination and advice,” academic pharmacist at Aston University Dr Ian Maidment said, adding: “This project will enable us to understand how, why, for whom and when community pharmacy can effectively support the public health response to pandemics such as Covid-19 and other future health emergencies.”

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