The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has called the future prime minister to deliver on the commitments made by the previous health secretaries to reform primary care through a ‘pharmacy first’ approach and fairly fund community pharmacies to avoid closures.

In an open letter, the NPA has urged Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, the two leadership contenders of the Conservative Party and prime ministerial candidates, to think radically about the role of England’s 11,000 pharmacies, which are on the frontline of healthcare across the country.

NPA also highlighted how pharmacies could help clear the NHS backlog, free up millions more GP appointments, dramatically improve access to primary health care and do more to prevent ill health and support people with long term medical conditions.

“Because of our unparalleled presence in deprived areas, we also have great potential to level up access to healthcare and address health inequalities. We set these ideas out in How We Can Help, which is an improvement plan already welcomed by many of your colleagues.”

The plan calls on the future prime minister to accept the proposal of the Health and Social Care Committee to rapidly develop an integrated, funded workforce plan for pharmacy. We need the right people in the right places to deliver a can-do agenda for transforming primary care.

“Properly, urgently and fairly fund community pharmacies and avoid further closures. The sector is in its eighth year of real terms cuts and is in danger of irreversible decline without sustained new investment.”

“Community pharmacy staff have been among the heroes of the covid-19 crisis. They stepped up to keep the NHS from collapse and saved many lives. We hope that one of you — as our future prime minister — will in turn stand with those heroes and millions of patients they serve,” NPA concludes in its letter.

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