Chancellor Rishi Sunak visits local pharmacy in Richmond (Yorks) to get his annual flu jab. Photo: Knights Pharmacy/AIMp

Echoing a sentiment often expressed by health secretary Matt Hancock, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has said he too is passionate about community pharmacy.

“I have a great passion for community pharmacy and the ease of access it provides to our local communities. Pharmacy has remained an open door for the frontline NHS during the pandemic, something we are all grateful for,” Sunak, whose mother ran a pharmacy, said during a visit to his local pharmacy in Yorkshire last week.

Chancellor Sunak on Friday (September 11) visited Knights Pharmacy – a member of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) – in his home constituency of Richmond to get his annual flu vaccine and hear first-hand about the many challenges the sector has faced during the pandemic.

“It has been a great opportunity to discuss the strength and resilience of our sector throughout the pandemic and also demonstrate how community pharmacy can step up to support the NHS with commissioned services,” superintendent pharmacist Peter Horrocks said following Sunak’s visit.

Horrocks said he also discussed with Sunak how the sector had made significant preparations this year to ensure that the annual flu campaign was able to go ahead despite the need to ensure a Covid-safe environment for both patients and members of staff.

“We are pleased to see the chancellor receiving his flu jab in one of our members pharmacies and taking time to listen to the current challenges facing the sector, and how if appropriately supported, community pharmacy can offer so much more to the NHS,” commented Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the AIMp on Monday (September 14).

The chancellor’s visit is the latest in a series of high-profile visits to a pharmacy in England including those made by the prime minister, the health secretary, and the chief executive of the NHS.

Prime minister Boris Johnson visited a London member pharmacy of the AIMp group earlier in the year.

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