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#saveourpharmacies: Pharmacies unite in nationwide protest to highlight funding crisis

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NPA vows to maintain the #saveourpharmacies campaign up to and beyond the general election

In a powerful display of unity, thousands of pharmacies across the UK participated in a nationwide protest today, organised by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), as part of its #saveourpharmacies campaign.

The NPA’s day of action was aimed at drawing attention to the severe crisis in pharmacy funding that has forced 1,400 pharmacies to close over the past decade and left thousands more struggling.

Participating pharmacies showed their protest through various actions like dimming lights, blacking out their windows, wearing black for the day, or discussing pharmacy funding with customers. Many pharmacies also seized the opportunity to interact with parliamentary candidate, urging them to address the funding crisis.

Blacked out windows of Cadbury Health Pharmacy

Pharmacies flooded social media with the #saveourpharmacies hashtag and Sector-specific WhatsApp groups buzzed with activity, sharing images and stories of the protest from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The protest also witnessed a massive turnout of patients rallying in support of pharmacies, demonstrating the critical role pharmacists play in communities.

Paul Rees, Chief Executive of the NPA, expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming response from pharmacies and their patients, stating:  “It’s humbling to see the huge response of pharmacies and their patients in the four corners of the UK turning out to protest at the appalling cuts which have hobbled our sector for so many years.”

“This day of action was about making plain the case for change – and while it’s great to get high profile media and social media exposure what will make a huge difference are the thousands of conversations in pharmacies today that will translate into discussions on the doorstep, leaving the parties in no doubt about the strength of feeling about our hard pressed but vital service.”

Rees added that they in close and constant touch with senior figures in all major parties, highlighting to them the importance of adequate funding for pharmacies to avoid the collapse of these essential community services.

As part of its day of action, the NPA also briefed health advisors from all the major UK parties to make them aware of the sector’s plight and bring the funding crisis to the forefront of political discussions during the general election.

Gareth Jones, Director of External & Corporate Affairs at NPA, riding the battlebus

The campaign tour featured a battlebus delivering letters to key political figures including Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer, Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey.

The NPA’s campaign has garnered interest from all major political parties, with Labour showing particular keenness in understanding the issues. Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has previously acknowledged the financial pressures facing the sector during a visit to NPA member Cherry Pharmacy in Rushden earlier this year.

Daisy Cooper joins the protest

Liberal Democrat deputy leader and health spokesperson Daisy Cooper engaged with NPA team during their campaign tour.

The association has pledged to continue the #saveourpharmacies campaign up to and beyond the general election, aiming to exert maximum pressure on the next government to deliver a new deal for community pharmacy.

The day of action received widespread media coverage spanning major outlets, including The Daily Mail, The Mirror, GB News, London Evening Standard, Channel 5, BBC Ulster, and numerous regional radio, online and print media.

The NPA has also extended its support to the cross-sector #votepharmacy initiative, which seeks action on funding, medicine supply and various other critical issues affecting the pharmacy sector.

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