Former minister of state for health Jackie Doyle-Price MP has been elected chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group.
A former civil servant and Conservative Party member, Doyle-Price has served as MP for Thurrock since 2010 and was under-secretary of state for mental health and sucide prevention in Theresa May’s government.
The election of Jackie Doyle-Price and eight other officers took place at the APPG’s inaugural meeting on Tuesday (July 14) where attendees also discussed the role of community pharmacy in the next phase of the response to Covid-19.
The newly elected group will be exploring how community pharmacy can help relieve pressures on other parts of the health service as the NHS tackles health challenges including Covid-19 and winter pressures.
It will also be looking at the potential of digital technology in pharmacy as well as the integral role of community pharmacy in supporting people to manage their own health.
“The current challenges caused by Covid-19 have reinforced the critical role that community pharmacies play across the UK as the third pillar of our national health service alongside GPs and A&E,” Doyle-Price said, following her election as chair of the group.
“Beyond just dispensing medicines, pharmacies are many people’s first point of contact with the NHS, providing vital services to keep people healthy.
“In the year ahead, I am looking forward to exploring new opportunities to strengthen the role of pharmacists in the health system, capitalising on their clinical expertise to reduce pressures on GPs and hospitals and support the prevention of ill-health.
“The All-Party Pharmacy Group is preparing a fantastic programme of work and I look forward to working with colleagues across both Houses to support the pharmacy sector at this crucial time for the NHS.”
In a joint statement the national pharmacy organisations that support the APPG said: “We are delighted that the APPG will continue its important work in parliament and we look forward to supporting Jackie Doyle-Price MP and the members of the APPG to broaden the conversation in Parliament of the vital role that pharmacy plays in helping to alleviate pressures on the NHS.
“The NHS has committed to making greater use of pharmacists and we have already seen them taking on greater responsibilities for helping patients and reducing pressures on GPs. Alongside opportunities to support the NHS there are also challenges to explore and overcome, including sustainable funding and embracing new ways of working. We are keen to work with the APPG to facilitate a discussion of how to ensure we capitalise on the value of pharmacy to the benefit of patients and the NHS.”
The APPG is supported with funding from the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, the Company Chemists’ Association, the National Pharmacy Association, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Other officers elected to the group were: Sir David Amess MP, Paul Bristow MP, Feryal Clark MP, Jason McCartney MP, Taiwo Owatemi MP, Julian Sturdy MP, Lord Clement-Jone and Baroness Cumberlege.