PM Rishi Sunak
REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

An executive director of Day Lewis and also board director and member of Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) Jay Patel highlighted the key issues and on ground challenges faced by the community pharmacy in a meeting hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and health secretary Steve Barclay in Downing Street on Saturday (January 7) to tackle the NHS pressure.

In his interview with BBC, he said: “He (prime minister) was very engaging and trying to understand the key issues and practical challenges on the ground.”

Patel described the meeting atmosphere as ‘collaborative and proactive’, and said, “people were genuinely asked their options and there were listeners too.”

On BBC, answering to a question on ‘how community pharmacies can alleviate the NHS pressure?’, Patel said: “Pharmacies is the workplace for this. We have trust of our patients; we have high skilled workforce both clinically and professionally. One of the opportunities we have is working around the acute treatment.”

Patel told BBC what’s stopping community pharmacies from taking the NHS burden and taking the extra service in diagnosis and treatment is ‘additional funding’.

He said: “Community pharmacies are seen as solution and that is the massive barrier and second is the demand, as a sector we are set up to be very reactive. We are funded in pharmacies to provide medicine, but we need additional funding to go beyond that.”

“We have been asking for many years for ‘Pharmacy first scheme’.”

“We are providing clinical services but that’s not we are being paid for. Actually, we are being paid for the medicine supply and been asked to do a favor.”

“My teams are up there on the frontline; they are highly skilled. We do have challenges; our workforce issues are major challenge at present. But with the right funding we can actually perform at a very high level, and we can have big roles in addressing the issues.”

The prime minister, health secretary and Treasury ministers met health experts from across England on Saturday to discuss challenges and tackle the pressure in the NHS.

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