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UK adults view community pharmacies as the 'most essential' local service

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UK adults view community pharmacies as the 'most essential' local service

Community pharmacies have been ranked as the ‘most essential’ local amenity in a survey of 2,000 UK consumers, followed by post offices and convenience stores.

The annual community barometer survey from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) polled adults in June, finding that in addition to being considered the most essential service pharmacies are seen as having the second most positive impact locally, behind post offices in first place.

“Pharmacies became more important than ever during the pandemic and have held on to that standing with local people,” said the ACS in its analysis, adding that along with post offices and convenience stores they have ranked in the top three on numerous metrics since it first launched the survey a decade ago.

“These services are incredibly important to all demographics locally, provide job for local people and make people feel good about where they live,” said the ACS.

Pharmacies were ranked seventh out of 10 when respondents were asked which service was most important in supporting the local economy, with convenience stores ranked highest.

Asked which service they most wanted to see on the high street – “typically those that are the hardest to find,” the ACS explained – respondents gave banks the highest ranking, with pharmacies coming in fifth place.

Pharmacies did not feature on a list of respondents’ top 10 priorities for local investment, with amenities like parks, community policing and transport links cited as most in need of investment. However, “support for existing local businesses” was ranked the fifth highest priority for investment.

Commenting on the ACS findings, National Pharmacy Association chief executive Paul Rees said they were a “timely reminder that pharmacies are a local lifeline”.

He added: “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.”

Mr Rees called on the new Labour government to invest in the pharmacy network “and help pharmacies play a significant part in reducing GP and hospital waiting times”.

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