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AIMp rebrands as IPA to amplify the voice of independent pharmacies

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David Vanns, currently serving as the chairman of AIMp, will retain his position as chairman of Independent Pharmacies Association (IPA) 

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) has changed its name to the Independent Pharmacies Association (IPA).

AIMp, now IPA, stated that rebranding was prompted by the demand from independent community pharmacists for an association that properly represents their interests.

The membership of the Independent Pharmacies Association will not be restricted to pharmacy owners with multiple branches, as was the case with AIMp, but will be open to all independents, it announced today (Tuesday).

It believes that the switch will “provide a clearer identity and afford a strong voice to the thousands of independent pharmacies in England and Wales.”

Furthermore, the IPA noted that it will not primarily function as an insurance organisation with membership attached, but it will be “fighting for and representing its members across all fronts.”

David Vanns, currently serving as the chairman of AIMp, will retain his position as chairman of IPA.

Vanns said: “Our businesses are set up very differently to others in the sector. For independent brick and mortar contractors, supplying NHS prescriptions, and services and treatments via the new NHS Pharmacy First scheme, is their priority.

“IPA is truly run by pharmacy contractors for pharmacy contractors. We understand community pharmacy. Our growing membership is a testament to our organisation’s dedication to speak up with courage and conviction on behalf of independent community pharmacies and offer them the support they need.”

The association highlighted that independent pharmacies, many of which are family owned, constitute roughly 68 per cent of the sector in England, and large chains make up about 29 per cent. However, the latter are “over-represented on the board of Community Pharmacy England, the body that negotiates contracts with the Government and NHS.”

“Independent community pharmacies do not operate the same business models as the large chains (Boots, supermarkets, Superdrug etc). They are not health and beauty, sandwiches and snacks-on-the-go retailers first, supplying medicines and prescriptions second. They are not corporates. Over 90 per cent of the independent’s business derives directly from the NHS,” the IPA said.

Despite the crucial frontline healthcare they provide, independent pharmacies in the country “struggle to make themselves heard and their needs are often overlooked,” the IPA stated adding that its strategy is to “ensure our members can thrive and are fully supported and represented.”

Vanns added: “We will press the cause of all independents and ensure they are properly represented on CPE and to the external stakeholders and decision-makers.

“We are here for our customers, our patients, and we’re always happy to work closely with the NHS to relieve pressure in other areas, but it is only right that we are treated with respect and that we are paid accordingly. From now on, the IPA will be making certain that is the case.”

‘We need unity and not split the voice’

Commenting on AIMp’s transition into IPA, Paul Rees, CEO of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said: “At a time when pharmacies are under such intense pressure, they need us to focus on the fight against the broken contract and unfair funding, which is damaging so many.”

“We need unity in the sector and not split the voice of independent pharmacies when we need to concentrate on winning better funding and ending the closures. That’s our focus at the NPA.”

Expanding on the NPA’s priorities, he said: “As the largest membership body for community pharmacies, we’re proud to support the majority of independents across the UK. Our focus is entirely on making a powerful case for pharmacies, in public, with government and opposition and with the NHS.

“We will work with all our colleagues within our sector – anytime, anywhere – in the interests of unity to end pharmacy closures and end the misery of unfair and inadequate funding.”

 

 

 

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