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Labour MP elected as All-Party Pharmacy Group chair


Labour MP elected as All-Party Pharmacy Group chair

By Neil Trainis

The All-Party Pharmacy Group has elected the Labour MP and pharmacist Taiwo Owatemi as its chair.

Ms Owatemi (pictured), who has been the MP for Coventry North West since December 2019, has been a staunch supporter of community pharmacy in parliament and worked as a senior oncology pharmacist before her election. She still works voluntarily at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire as a pharmacist in cancer care.

In June, Ms Owatemi, 30, joined a chorus of political voices in the Commons calling for more funding for pharmacy, insisting community pharmacists were “dependable and dedicated individuals who are excellent at providing medical knowledge and support for the communities that they work in.”

Quoting PSNC figures showing 639 pharmacies had closed in England since 2016, she said Coventry had seen nine pharmacies shut their doors for good and criticised the government for “ignoring the roles that community pharmacists can play in combatting” what she described as an “escalating crisis” in general practice, with many patients unable to get an appointment.

Meanwhile, the Conservative MP Elliot Colburn was elected as an APPG officer while Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrats), Baroness Meacher (crossbencher), Sir George Howarth (Labour), Derek Thomas (Conservative) and Peter Dowd (Labour) were elected as vice-chairs.

Leading figures from community pharmacy also met with the APPG yesterday to discuss how pharmacies can help alleviate the pressure on GPs and other parts of the NHS and play a bigger role in local communities.

PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison, Company Chemists’ Association chief executive Malcolm Harrison, English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind, National Pharmacy Association board member Sanjeev Panesar and Sandeep Dhami, a member of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, were at the meeting.

No details have yet emerged but the APPG said it would disclose the minutes of the meeting “in due course.”

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