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Pharmacies ranked first among essential local services, reveals nation-wide survey

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The Community Barometer survey underscores the critical role of pharmacies, especially post-pandemic, and highlights the need for government investment to sustain these vital community resources

A recent survey report on top-ranking essential local service stores across the UK has crowned pharmacies as the top-ranking local services, outranking Post Office and convenience stores.

Released by the Association of Convenience Stores, the survey report by the Community Barometer highlights that people in the UK believe pharmacies to be the most essential local services for locals, while post offices and convenience stores take the second and third spot on the list, respectively.

The Community Barometer report is based on an omnibus poll of 2000 UK adults, asking questions about a range of services including convenience stores, Post Offices, pharmacies, banks, coffee shops, charity shops and other high street businesses.

It also looks at what people believe should be a priority in terms of investment in their local area.

Moreover, the survey measured people’s attitudes towards local services in terms of the positive impact they have in the local areas.

Post Offices ranked at the top of the list as the most positively impactful local service, while pharmacies ranked second in the list followed by convenience stores.

It also highlights convenience stores ranking at the top among 16 different local services for supporting the local economy, creating jobs and stimulating investment – followed by pubs/bars, and restaurants in second and third place respectively.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman emphasised the importance of local convenience stores in providing secure and flexible employment, supporting the local economy, and driving investment in a range of services.

He stated, “Communities across the UK clearly recognise the importance of their local convenience store in providing secure and flexible employment, supporting the local economy, and driving investment in a wider range of services.

Our Community Barometer provides a blueprint for the kind of diversity of businesses people want on their local high streets, and highlights the need for crucial services like banking, prescription collections and Post Offices – many of which are already housed within convenience stores.”

Lowman also addressed the new Labour Government’s priorities, saying, “One of the top priorities for the new Labour Government will be to look at ways to improve the way that people feel about their local communities.

“A diverse range of services is part of that solution, but it’s clear that investment is needed in local community engagement and a stronger police presence.

“We urge the Government to look at supporting local growth not just in terms of town centres, but in the villages, high streets and smaller parades where people live, work and shop.”

National Pharmacy Assosication (NPA) chief executive Paul Rees underscored the critical role of pharmacies in communities, stating, “This latest Community Barometer is a timely reminder that pharmacies are a local lifeline, which enrich communities across the country and provide vital healthcare for millions of people.”

Rees highlighted the challenges faced by pharmacies, noting, “Yet over a thousand pharmacies have been forced to close in the last decade due to chronic government underfunding.

“Each closure represents a sad loss to the community it serves and leaves a gaping hole in the high street.”

He called for government action, asserting, “The government needs to invest to maintain the pharmacy network and help pharmacies play a significant part in reducing GP and hospital waiting times.”

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