Pharmacy bodies and MPs discussed on support needed to unlock the “full potential” of community pharmacy at the All Pharmacy Party Group (APPG)’s general meeting held in Westminster on Tuesday (01 November).
The attendees of the meeting were Janet Morrison OBE, Chief Executive of Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee; Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of The Company Chemists’ Association; Thorrun Govind, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society; Sanjeev Panesar, National Pharmacy Association Board Member, and Pharmacist Superintendent and Owner of the Pan Pharmacy Group; and Sandeep Dhami, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies member and superintendent at MW Phillips Chemist
At the session, 18 parliamentarians were briefed on the myriad of ways pharmacies contribute to the health of the nation.
The panel of experts also highlighted that pharmacists are ‘running out of fuel’ with the growing challenges such as flat funding, workforce shortages and the cost-of-living crisis impacting pharmacies’ ability to deliver vital services.
Morrison conveyed to MPs the severe financial and capacity pressures that the sector is experiencing, highlighting the fact that, despite an increase in the number of patient consultations taking place in pharmacy, the sector has had a real terms funding cut since 2016.
She also highlighted the pressures that high energy and staff costs as well as high inflation are having on contractors, who unlike virtually every other business, are not able to pass on these costs to their customers.
The event saw Taiwo Owatemi MP elected as the new Chair of the APPG for pharmacy. The MPs were also elected as vice-chairs of the group are Lord Clement-Jones; Baroness Meacher; Sir George Howarth, Labour MP for Knowsley; Derek Thomas, Conservative MP for St Ives; Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle. Elliot Colburn, Conservative MP for Carshalton and Wallington was elected as a officer of the group
Parliamentarians in attendance were also told about recent PSNC efforts to build support for an English ‘Pharmacy First’ service, and Janet updated MPs about the recent work taking place on developing a vision and strategic options for community pharmacy.
PSNC is continuing to work with the other pharmacy organisations and with LPCs to ensure that MPs and Peers are fully briefed on community pharmacy and are supporting the sector.
Alongside new briefing materials to support this, PSNC is hosting a Parliamentary event later in November where it will be working alongside LPCs and others to update MPs and Peers on the urgent need for more support for the sector, and to demonstrate what pharmacy can do with the right support.