Robin Swann

Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann has thanked community pharmacy for its “unwavering” response to the coronavirus pandemic and dedication to helping people.

Swann, who was the chief guest at a dinner event to mark the centenary of the National Pharmacy Association, praised “the tremendous dedication of community pharmacy to public service in Northern Ireland” over the past 100 years.

“Recent events have shown the value of community pharmacy to the health service,” he said, at event help at Hillsborough Castle near Belfast on Tuesday (October 19).

“Pharmacies have been at the forefront of our Covid-19 response, playing a pivotal role in delivering much needed services to our communities and the people who live in them.

“I know that Covid-19 generated new and different demands for pharmacies and you’ve worked hard to maintain access to medicines and expert pharmaceutical advice, as well as offering new services.

“You have been unwavering in your response and dedication and I’d like to thank you on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland.”

(L to R) NPA chair Andrew Lane, NI health minister Robin Swann, NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette and pharmacist Michael Guerin. Photo: National Pharmacy Association

The Minister continued: “EU exit and the Northern Ireland protocol have raised concerns of the supply and regulations of medicines. The goal of my department has always been to maintain the continuity of medicines supply and equity of access to treatment for all our people.”

Cathy Harrison, chief pharmaceutical officer at the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, also attended the event.

She said: “I’m enormously proud of each and every community pharmacist and member of our pharmacy teams. I can see that things are looking brighter for community pharmacy in Northern Ireland with ambitious plans in place for workforce development, independent prescribing, regulation of technicians and investment in IT.

“The support of the National Pharmacy Association will be absolutely critical to our success in this,” she added.

Approximately £500 was raised for mental health charity Inspire at the event.

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