PSNC starts new ‘influencing’ campaign to reach politicians
The PSNC has launched a new “influencing campaign” to raise awareness among MPs and peers of the pressures facing community pharmacies in England.
As part of this, the negotiator will hold a briefing event in Parliament tomorrow (November 15) in which it will seek to demonstrate pharmacy’s capabilities by offering MPs blood pressure checks, as well as highlighting the need to address funding and other issues.
Following this, the PSNC will work with LPCs and contractors to organise pharmacy visits from ministers, APPG members and other political figures, as well as “undertaking more media work to highlight the pressures on the sector and to call for action”.
The campaign follows PSNC chief Janet Morrison's recent comments that the organisation needed to reach "the higher level of policy makers and decision makers" before it kicks off the official contract talks with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England.
To support this work, a “four-point action plan” has been developed to drive home key messages to parliamentarians. This summarises the sector’s funding constraints and calls for pharmacies to have an expanded primary care role, as well as making the case for ‘regulatory easements” to manage “the critical staffing situation”.
The action plan also reiterates the PSNC’s call for the adoption of a Scotland-style Pharmacy First service in England, claiming that by transferring minor ailments consultations from GPs to pharmacies the NHS could save £640m per year.
The campaign work is taking place alongside efforts to develop a new strategy for the sector to take into negotiations, with the PSNC currently seeking views from stakeholders on what needs to change.
PSNC public affairs director Zoe Long said: “Community pharmacies are facing immense, unsustainable operational and financial pressures which are impacting on business, staff and patients.
“This is not acceptable, and we will be telling politicians across the political spectrum that something must be done about it. Our short-term action plan has been written to help us do that while work continues on the longer-term vision and strategic options for the sector.
“The best way for MPs to understand what is going on in pharmacy is to see it for themselves and to talk to contractors directly, and this is why we’ll be looking to organise a series of pharmacy visits over the coming months to support the briefings we are giving across Westminster.
“We would be very grateful for any help that contractors and LPCs can give with this campaign.”